A recent Wired article about Jason Kunesh (Director of User Experience for Obama) provides an insight into the UXD gurus and the mechanisms behind Obama-love. There’s an introduction by the author/interviewer Jason Cranford Teague, which (a) hints at the mostly unconscious appeal of UXD, much of which goes “unnoticed by the user,” and (b) explicitly notes how Obama’s political machine works on the “feelings” of voter communities. There’s even some funology in there too.


Photo by Jeff Ellis

“What makes for a successful use of web media in a Presidential campaign is not unlike what makes for any successful marketing enterprise: the user experience. User experience designers work hard to ensure that the a human’s interaction with technology is as pleasing as possible, but the irony is that the best user experiences are the ones that go unnoticed by the user — they just work. By that standard, the Obama user experience was a resounding success, enabling his supporters to feel like they were a part of the campaign.” (Read the full interview here: Dream Jobs You’ve Never Heard of: Director of User Experience for Obama for America Campaign)

About Virality

Tony D. Sampson is Reader in Digital Culture and Communications at the University of East London. He has a PhD in social-cultural-digital contagion theory from the Sociology Department at the University of Essex. He is a former art student who re-entered higher education in the UK as a mature student in the mid-1990s after a long stint as a gigging musician. His career in education has moved through various disciplines and departments, including a maths and computing faculty, sociology department and school of digital media and design His publications include The Spam Book, coedited with Jussi Parikka (Hampton Press, 2009), Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), The Assemblage Brain: Sense Making in Neuroculture (University of Minnesota Press, 2016) and Affect and Social Media (Rowman and Littlefield, July 2018). He is organizer and host of the Affect and Social Media conferences in the UK. As a co-founder and co-director of the public engagement initiatives, Club Critical Theory (CCT) and the Cultural Engine Research Group (CERG), Sampson has developed a number of funded research projects and public events that aim to bring impactful critical theories into the community and local political sphere to approach a series of local challenges. These activities have included large conferences co-organized with local authorities looking at a range of policies relating to the revitalization of the Essex costal region, developments in the cultural industries as well as a series of community focused events on food cultures and policy, collaborations with arts groups and informal lectures/workshops in pubs and community centres. Director of the EmotionUX Lab at UEL. He occasionally blogs at: https://viralcontagion.wordpress.com/ Full academic profile: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Staff/s/tony-sampson
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