Until recently I had never heard the word “iterate.” I have done it, but never actually said that I have iterated.
Iterate means to do or say something over again, as in “Allow me to iterate my point.” You may have heard the more common request to “reiterate” a point. Though incorrect, reiterate is considered acceptable because it is (incorrectly) used so frequently.
Neither of these words is commonly used in the circles I move in, but as I delve into the world of User Experience (commonly called UX) design iteration has become a rather big deal. According to my go-to source, Wikipedia, iterative design is:
“A design methodology based on a cyclic process of prototyping, testing, analyzing, and refining a product or process. “
What that means is you create a prototype, test it, analyze the results, and make any necessary changes to make it work better. Rinse and repeat.
Iteration (and reiteration) is commonly used in development of human computer interfaces. This is the place where we humans come face-to-face with all of the interactive devices that we invite into our lives. In software design, industrial design and website design this User Interface design is referred to as UI and is packaged together with UX to create UI/UX design.
I am just learning about this UI/UX world but to my uneducated eye this whole UI/UX design process seems to me to be part of the traditional creative process. We give it a name now though because it is becoming a study unto itself as its human impact grows.
Our deepening relationship with all of our favorite interactive devices is increasing at breakneck speed. I recently heard Scot Przybylski, Senior UX Designer at Slice of Lime in Denver, present on “The UX of the Internet of Everything (IoE)” at a Refresh Denver Meetup. He told the group that by 2015 there could be 25 billion “things” connected to the Internet. That’s BILLION with a B or 3.5 connected things, per person, on the planet. And all of these connected things require attention and some degree of interaction with us.
With that many connected things complicating our lives with their need to interact with us, an understanding of how we will use them and how we feel about our experience with them becomes more important than the things themselves. But you know it’s always been all about relationships.
So allow me to reiterate (sorry, but it just sounds better to me) my point if I can find it here. Over centuries our interaction with an abacus or slide rule never required an examination of our relationships with them because though they served a purpose, they didn’t drill into our lives. But as soon as that hand-held calculator wormed its way into our daily, we started going steady with technology and our infatuation and slavish devotion to it does not seem to be slowing down.
At the Refresh Denver Meetup Scot talked about the Internet of Everything (IoE) and the importance of developing a human-centered ecosystem that will attend to our needs, problems, and goals as we go forward into the future, hand-in-hand with the technology we create.
Think about your relationship with your microwave, or your TV remote, or your cell phone. Is it satisfying? New cars are coming off the line requiring more and more interaction with their drivers. Are you emotionally ready for a new car that is expecting a more serious relationship than your current car?
Take heart. At this writing, though we are still responsible for our human relationships we can rest assured that there are some very serious people thinking seriously about making the relationships we have with all of our devices satisfying ones.