The Critical Engineering Manifesto Response – dinkolas

The third point in "The Critical Engineering Manifesto" by Julian Oliver et al. (2011) particularly stood out to me:

"The Critical Engineer deconstructs and incites suspicion of rich user experiences."

A few years ago I learned that in every large social media platform the users, not the site, are the product. The consumers who pay for the users' attention are advertisers. Thus, a "rich user experience" can sometimes just be a means of attracting the most user attention, or gathering the most product to sell. This could be viewed as a win-win: the user gets to choose the best site, and the best site is rewarded with advertising money. However, when the site is designed for addiction (which is the case with most social media platforms), this interaction is soured, and the site which manages to squeeze the most time out of the most people comes out on top. That is why I find this principal of the manifesto to be particularly important; the best solution to avoid having your time exploited is to be suspicious when you are repeatedly attracted to a single user experience, and to become conscious of ulterior motives the designers of such a system may have.