Encrypt this

Two surreal UX experiences today:

– I marked a dinner this coming week on my google calendar… only to find google automatically added a cute google-generic illustration of a set table as background of the event. Someone somewhere somehow believes this to be clever, maybe even necessary.

– I found out skype now has a list of emojis for you to use in your… video calls. You can flash them on screen for the other person to understand how you’re feeling… i.e. if you’re in tears about something, surely it would be enough for the person on the other side to see -you- crying in order to “get it”? Apparently not, according to skype: you’ll have to validade your feeling with a freakin’ yellow blurb. And needless to say, the nuances of human emotion are reduced to a handful of icons to choose from – the usual: happy, sad, angry, love… and the freakin’ thumbs up, believe it or not. You are invited to press the “thumbs up” icon rather than giving an actual thumbs up on camera. Let’s call it the encryption of body language.

In order to sell us this silly stuff, these companies often resort to variations of the “express yourself” slogan. To which I reply: “my body will resist emoji reduction, particularly when there is video available”. And as far as the dinner calendar experience goes: maybe it’s time to start spelling wrong on purpose. Since they’ve butchered language anyway with AO90, might as well put the chaos to good use. At least while our coming “citizen ratings” are not penalised for “insufficient writing skills” or something.