HX is the universal language of life in a tech-heavy world.
Short for “human experience,” HX is an approach to talking about, engaging with, and designing technology in a way that is aligned with our needs as humans — not users.
HX sits at the intersection of many existing fields all working on ways to make our lives healthier, more equitable and more human. Digital citizenship, digital wellbeing, humane tech, ethical tech, responsible tech, and many other areas of work, all share similar values and goals.
Just like User Experience, or UX, helps us better engage with apps and sites as users, HX helps us better engage with tech as people — and feel better while we’re doing it.
A shared understanding of HX can help us better understand our relationships with technology, make better decisions, and inspire researchers, innovators and product makers to be more responsive to our diverse human needs.
Young people, who have never known a world without smartphones and social media, are also eager to improve their relationships with tech—and are uniquely positioned to help guide us toward a better, more inclusive future.
Why does HX matter?
Technology is integrated into nearly every aspect of our lives — and the days of pure IRL are over. We are increasingly reliant on big tech platforms and tools that don’t always prioritize the diverse human experience. As a result, many of us are struggling to develop healthy relationships with technology.
We’re at a crossroads in our collective relationship to technology and now is the moment to create real change.
- Young people’s fluency in technology means they are uniquely positioned to receive the benefits of HX, and are under-appreciated experts with whom we can partner to improve HX for all.
- Today’s teens are the most racially and ethnically diverse and educated generation ever and have been at the forefront of movements for racial, social and environmental justice.
What is HX?
HX is an interdisciplinary emerging field that offers shared language to express our thoughts and feelings around the way we interact with technology. Technology is already integrated into nearly every aspect of our lives, and it will only continue to develop at faster speeds. We can all feel the ways that technology impacts our overall wellbeing but we don’t always have the right words to describe it.
HX helps provide that common narrative that bridges the many ways we currently talk about this issue and brings together cross-sector efforts to improve our human experience, including:
- Human-Centered design: Developers and entrepreneurs who build tech for health and wellbeing.
- Internet research and governance: Academics and policy makers who guide us towards responsible, equitable, anti-racist and ethical tech.
- Wellbeing research and practitioners: Academics who study wellbeing and how to improve it, and practitioners dedicated to improving emotional and social health.
- Developmental and learning science: Researchers and scientists who understand what young people of different ages and backgrounds need for their learning and development.
- Youth organizing: Youth driving movements for social justice and youth empowerment.
Don’t see your field represented and feel it’s a fit? Let us know, here.
What are some examples of HX in action?
There is strong momentum behind this movement and a lot of great work already happening in this space. HX is a connector that brings together work, like:
- Fair Play Alliance, a coalition of gaming companies and professionals committed to developing healthier games and gaming communities.
- Youth Connections for Wellbeing shares digital strategies for tapping young people’s insights and technology engagement to support wellbeing
- Headstream’s Youth 2 Innovator initiative, a program that supports youth to rethink social technologies in order to shape digital technology’s impact on well-being.
- All Tech is Human’s Responsible Tech Guide, which features job listings for roles that aim to reduce the negative impacts of technology.
- Spaces of Refuge offers guiding principles and inspiring case studies for how to tap the power of diverse youth and digital networks to tackle the mental health equity crisis.
- One Mind PsyberGuide is a non-profit project that aims to help people to use technology to live a mentally healthier life.
- The Raising Good Gamers Initiative was created to catalyze positive change in the culture and climate of online gaming for youth
- The Play Positive campaign, by Cartoon Network and Raising Good games inspires kids to make online games positive places for everyone.
- UNICEF Global Forum on AI for Children
Why is HX
By creating a common social narrative on the leading edge of these issues, we can improve our individual relationships with tech and collectively help better shape future technologies for all of us. Even before the pandemic, technology had a huge impact on our overall wellbeing. Now, as we are more reliant on tech than ever before, we need to prioritize our human experience. By spurring innovation and building coalitions around the shared HX narrative, we can use HX to shape a better, more equitable human experience for all.
How can I join?
The HX Project aims to make the most of this moment by calling in and fostering collaboration among anyone who wants to advocate for and contribute to the creation of a better HX. To become a part of the HX Project or let us know about your work, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and click here to sign up for HX updates and additional calls for submissions and collaboration.
The HX Project is made up of collaborators working to kickstart community development of the HX concept, and connect existing fields that are all working toward making our relationship to technology better and more equitable. Supported by funding from Pivotal Ventures and the Susan Crown Exchange, the project will evolve, expand and share the HX concept so others can use it to better understand, articulate, and improve the human experience. We aren’t the first to identify this opportunity to create a better HX, but we are eager to facilitate and steward the collaboration necessary to make this happen.
HX in the News
Meet the teens making the digital world a kinder and gentler place
We’re all worried about teens and tech. HX might be the answer
Opinion: We’ve Grown Up Surrounded by Tech — Now We Need a Better Way to Talk About it