“3. The Critical Engineer deconstructs and incites suspicion of rich user experiences.”

I found this tenet of the Critical Engineering Manifesto curious, since rich user experiences are typically thought to be solely positive. Upon further thought, very rich user interface can disguise underlying problems. A very basic example would be purchasing some sort of commodity, say headphones. People might want to buy really edgy and well designed headphones even if it’s overpriced and the sound quality isn’t as good as alternatives. This happens with the way almost anything is packaged. When strong user interface and convenience intersect, the better alternative solutions and problematic engineering can be swept under the rug. A basic (perhaps opinionated) example would be the popularity of Venmo. Linking your banking info to this mobile app often does raise red flags due to its convenience, despite the fact that it’s not even that much of a hassle to pay someone back in cash. This surely extends to issues whose consequences go beyond the individual.

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