This article was originally published on LinkedIn.
From making a grocery list to remembering tasks at work, humans rely on technology in every part of our lives.
This reliance on technology has changed our brains in very real ways. That’s why brands need to change how they create consumer technology.
Instead of focusing solely on tasks, smart tech brands are bringing the human element back to the digital world. We’re now crafting technology tailored to the human brain instead of trying to mold user behavior into our technology.
It’s time to humanize technology not just because it gives a better experience, but because it’s what users expect. Humanized technology is the future of brand-customer relationships; embrace it now to get ahead.
What Does it Mean to Humanize Technology?
To humanize technology is to give technology a human character. This ranges from mimicking actual human interaction or recognizing user sentiment to give a more relevant experience.
But why should brands bother humanizing their technology? After all, it’s an additional step that can lengthen production times and increase costs.
Humanized technology is incredibly important to create an engaging experience with your customers. In fact, the tech market is so saturated today that brands need to humanize their offerings to stand out.
Humanizing is about designing your technology in a way that supports natural human behavior. It has several benefits for both customers and brands.
Apple is credited with mastering the art of humanized UX/UI. Their intuitive drag and drop interface for the Apple smartphone set the standard for fluid, modern UI.
In fact, Apple’s UX is so simple to understand that babies and young children can use it without instruction. Apple appealed to innate, human tendencies that even young, undeveloped brains can use their technology without incident.
You need human-centered design for your technology because it helps users navigate your product without complex tutorials. If you have a similar product to a competitor, better UX/UI will encourage users to choose you over everyone else.
Humans get overloaded with information easily, especially when we check our online news feeds. Humanized technology personalizes how humans interact with technology.
Instead of sifting through your Instagram feed to see all posts, Instagram uses an algorithm tailored to your interests. The platform shows what you’re most likely wanting to see, simplifying the online experience.
When you simplify something, you encourage users to come back. By building experience and engagement through repeat use, you create loyal users.
Increased Customer Engagement
Humanized design is helpful for increasing customer engagement. It can even make customers feel more comfortable with new or foreign ideas.
Alphabet’s self-driving project, Waymo, used humanized design to make its self-driving cars look friendlier. Alphabet took advantage of a psychological phenomenon called pareidolia, or the human habit of finding faces in inanimate objects.
The company intentionally designed the car to look like a cute, friendly face to help customers feel more comfortable.
This simple tweak to the car’s design subtly changes perception, helping customers feel more at ease with the new technology for better engagement.
3 Ways Brands are Humanizing Technology
There are infinite ways to humanize your technology. Follow in the footsteps of other human-centered technology companies to design a more engaging experience that puts the user first. Here are three ways brands can add a human element to their technology.
1. Natural Language Processing and Chatbots
Thanks to improvements in natural language processing, AI-powered chatbots are more lifelike than ever. The technology is so good that customers often can’t tell the difference between chatting with the bot or a human.
Chatbots decrease your team’s workload while giving customers timely information. Best of all, natural language processing makes it feel like the customer is chatting with a human, deepening the relationship and encouraging engagement.
2. IoT Devices
Connected devices like smartwatches do more than alert you to new messages. They often come with biometric sensors to manage your health, too.
Brands are humanizing IoT-connected devices by personalizing suggestions based on this biometric data.
For example, the Bellabeat fitness tracker emails customers every week with personalized suggestions for their fitness and sleep routine. It’s this personalization that helps customers achieve their fitness goals while deepening a relationship with the brand.
3. Immersive Platforms
Augmented and virtual reality humanize digital environments by bringing your customer into the experience. These immersive platforms fool the human brain into thinking the digital data is real, encouraging users to interact with the platform like they would in real life.
The user interface itself disappears within VR and customers use gestures to navigate the platform. Although VR is just now going mainstream, many brands use AR for online shopping since the tech can be used with a smartphone.
Get on board now with immersive technology. Build a virtual space where users can interact with your brand, find the information they need, and keep your company top of mind].
The Bottom Line
Humanity is so advanced with technology that we’re overloaded with it. It’s time to bring back what we lost when smartphones, social media, and streaming became commonplace. Let’s bring the human element back to technology to connect with our users again.