UX Sofia is an international UX (User Experience) conference focusing on design, usability, and user research organized by Lucrat. The topic of this 11-th edition of the event is Design for sustainability.
Have a look at a small example - the major music listening technologies
  • Gramophone record - 1989
  • Audio cassette - 1963
  • Compact disc - 1982
  • MP3 player - 1996
  • Streaming - 2006
74 - 19 - 14 - 10: every next major technology has been coming faster. Every new technology has improved something in the listening experience compared to its predecessors. Music became cheaper - a 1970s vinyl record was about 1.2% of a monthly salary in the USA, a digital album in 2013, 0.4% of that salary. Today the monthly subscription to all the music one can listen to is less than 0.25% of the monthly American salary. The major factor for these faster cycles and lower prices is digital technology.
The implications of Moore’s law defy logic. Digital technology becomes faster, smaller, and, at the same time, cheaper. The computational power that we can fit in a square centimeter has been doubling every two years for more than 50 years. This amazing geometrical progression is the cornerstone of the rapid progress of all other technologies.
Today, we are literally constantly online. The difference between the physical and the virtual is getting blurred. Facebook is now building a metaverse that will blend the two even more.
This rapid growth comes at a cost. It requires tremendous resources - energy, water, metals,... so we ask the question: Is this growth sustainable?
Our inquiry into music shows that the CO2 equivalents of listening to recorded music in the era of music streaming have doubled since the time of vinyl and cassettes. Roughly, if we stream an album for more than 5-6 hours, we are making a bigger environmental impact compared to listening to the same album on a CD.
Challenging topics such as environmental footprint, virtual waste, and resources squandered online are gaining popularity by the day. Sustainability is a comprehensive concept. It covers all aspects of our individual and social life - upbringing, education, social and work environment, household, entertainment, business, leisure, and many more.
At UX Sofia 2022 we will look at UX from the perspective of sustainability by sharing practices, solutions, thoughts, and examples of design that takes into consideration both sustainability and UX.
What could we do as designers to take care of the world we live in?
Are sustainability and UX mutually exclusive?
Can we contribute to a balanced, harmonious, and healthy world?
Are we obliged to do it?
We, Lucrat - the organizers of UX Sofia, believe that UX practitioners have a role in this play.
We accumulate more and more digital waste in the form of redundant emails, versions of documents and code, countless photos, recordings of online meetings, application features that nobody uses, web content that is never visited, to name just a few. The creation, transportation, processing, storage of these requires energy.
How can we make it easy and sustainable to handle photos, manage emails, create and store documents, participate in social media, and so on? The first step might be to start thinking about it. We are smart and inventive people; we might start discovering ways in which we could reduce energy needs and the accumulation of digital waste.
Today, digitalization has entered all walks of life. Our role as UX practitioners is giving us ever growing opportunities to influence and change our environment in a conscious way. If, in addition to business and user requirements, we take care of the requirements of the environment, we could help use the resources of the planet more sparingly and improve our social and work environments, communities, infrastructures, and households.
What could be the ways to do this?
Are there good examples and arguments?
Is environmental sustainability a requirement already?
Is sustainability part of UX?
Sustainability in/and UX will be one of the main topics that we will discuss and be inspired by at UX Sofia 2022. We will do it together with practitioners with proven influence and expertise on the UX scene. We have an impressive line-up of speakers from Bulgaria and abroad.
The goal of UX Sofia has always been to expand skills and build knowledge in the fields of design, user research, and user communication. This goal does not change. We will broaden our horizons this year by focusing on design that spares the resources of machines and people without compromising the components that allow users to have good user experiences.

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We are no longer looking for volunteers, we have enough for this year's edition. If you are interested for the next year, please let us know at angelina.ivancheva@lucrat.net.