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Blast Radius’ Steve Johnson Talks Dirty at SXSW

Blast Radius user experience guru Steve Johnson heated up Austin when he took the stage at SXSW 2014 for his talk, Relieving Frustration: Porn & User Experience on March 10. Here are some highlights:

How surprised do you think people will be to learn of the influence porn sites have on UXD?

Johnson: Previously, porn sites weren’t particularly well designed from a UX perspective—they didn't need to be. The content sold itself. Things are changing, though. The pressures of piracy, user-uploaded content and broader public acceptance pushed the industry to innovate and provide better experiences. I look at sites that are beginning to innovate and how they create more engaging experiences for consumers.

What’s the chief lesson we can learn from the porn industry’s use of tech?

Johnson: In technology terms, the porn industry is well established as an innovator and early adopter. As each new communication technology has been developed, you see porn quickly leveraging it for its own use. It happened with the printing press, photography, film and the Internet.

I believe that the porn industry is the bellweather for new technologies and their application. Today some porn sites are producing 4K Ultra HD content and using real-time translation in their chat services. By tracking porn sites, we see how these technologies are applied and how consumers respond. If a new technology doesn't work out for the porn industry, I definitely want to know.

What’s one thing you’ve learned from porn sites that you’ve applied to your work?

Johnson: How they use the principles of telepresence—or creating the illusion that an experience is not mediated by technology—to create more immersive experiences for consumers. This can be by creating a seamless flow of content for people to consume, or not letting the interface overpower the experience. It can also point to emerging technologies that activate sensory channels or provide the feeling of "being there.” Viewing interactions this way helps us create experiences where brands can communicate with their consumers in increasingly personal ways, lowering the barriers that technology can create.

Read more at Wunderman Reports: http://wndr.mn/uxxx

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