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Archive for June, 2011


The Perfect User

Since Skynet hasn’t yet become self-aware, since the human race hasn’t yet been exterminated by artificially intelligent machines, since end-users are still largely human beings, the technological progress now stands at a crossroads: reengineering all the software or eugenically engineering the human evolution?

This all stems from the fact that almost all existing software is designed for end-users with these requirements:

  • Memory of an elephant
  • Dexterity of a monkey
  • Visual acuity of an eagle
  • Navigation skills of a bat
  • Stamina of a camel

So at least in the future, as William Hudson says, does not fall prey to the temptation to believe that users

  • are working in a quiet, ordered environment with no interruptions or distractions;
  • will remember everything they have ever done on a device;
  • are motivated to solve any problems that come up without regard to their mental well-being;
  • have no need for breaks, meals or sleep;
  • only make mistakes through spitefulness;
  • understand the internal workings of the system just as its designers do.

The mythological perfect user is only a product of a bad design, so, once in a while let’s take a break and tell ourselves that the user is not stupid, it’s our design that’s wrong!

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