A recent presentation at York St John’s University explored the rise of perfectionism in young people. Researchers in the UK found a greater degree of competition and the need to outstrip others had risen in the last 30 years. Demand to do better was found to not only be pressure they put on themselves, but from external factors – namely, parents.
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Three key factors of the research identified:
The extent to which young people attach an irrational importance to being perfect, hold unrealistic expectations of themselves, and are highly self-critical has increased by 10%
The extent to which young people impose unrealistic standards on those around them and evaluate others critically has increased by 16%
The extent to which young people perceive that their environment is excessively demanding, that others judge them harshly, and that they must display perfection to secure approval has risen by 33%.
The budding sociologist in me found this fascinating, and one’s study of a week’s worth of news and current affairs, will witness the enormous pressures faced on today’s youth.
The user experience designer in me saw the implications for product and service design. See point 2 above, the rise in expectations of those around them. It’s logical to take from this, a rise in expectation of how well products and services they use, function. But still in software development, there are ill-conceived interactions and work flows that bear little connection to the intended users.
Be this due to conflicting priorities, lack of resource to make it happen, development-minded organisations and product management, or any other reason.
This has implication for everyone, and everything.