As a business and as a consumer, I can see the need for good design of the user experience. I stood in the bar with a group afterwards where we named umpteen elements of user experience on the web where things could drastically improve for the customer. In business, we all need to find better ways to engage with our users in order to find and retain more customers - and some of the examples of design given during the talks were truly impressive, making me think straight away about how to do things better.
But it also made me think about how I make my buying decisions. These days it seems that companies are using all sorts of subliminal methods to make me buy stuff. I talk on the phone or have face to face pretty regularly with someone who's doing NLP or some other Jedi thing on me. Now I find that the designers are at it as well.
Now, I'm all for buying quality, good value, products that satisfy a need or solve a problem but now I worry about where my need or my problem is coming from. Is it from me, or am I being manipulated beyond my control? I need to think seriously about developing some kind of mental resistance - in the meantime, I'm making a kitchen foil hat to keep those messages at bay and keeping a close eye on my bank balance.