The book “Mental hospital in the hands of patients. Alan Cooper about interfaces »

image We are all madmen living in a technological madhouse, and we ourselves have created this crazy world. They made this nightmare with their own hands: interfaces that irritate and tire our eyes, devices that lead to pain in the back and wrists. This book has become a manifesto and still has not lost its relevance. The door to freedom is wide open. Why don't we notice the way out? This is what Alan Cooper talks about, explaining the difference between interface and interaction.

Design for just one person

When creating a product designed to meet the needs of a wide audience of users, the logic usually encourages to endow it with such extensive functionality to cover as many people as possible. In this case, the logic is wrong. Your product will become much more successful if you design it for only one person.

Imagine that you are planning to design a car that would appeal to a wide range of customers. You can easily identify at least three target segments: mothers who always carry their children to sports clubs, carpenters and young managers. Mom wants to have a reliable, safe car, spacious inside and certainly with large doors - so that everything fits there: children, dogs, packages from the supermarket and much more. Carpenter Joe would like to have a sturdy all-wheel drive car and plenty of space for carrying stepladders, wood, cement bags and tools. Seth, a young manager, wants to have a sports car, which should have a powerful engine, stiff suspension, a convertible top and a place for only two.

Based on logical considerations, the solution may look like the image above. This is a combination of the wishes of each of our three drivers: a convertible van, a spacious lounge for children and a place for transporting wood. What an awkward, unimaginable car it turned out! Even if it really can be designed, no one would want to buy it. It would be right to design a minivan for mommy, a pickup truck for the carpenter Joe and a sports car for manager Seth.

In terms of software development, creating three different programs is much easier than building three cars. One software product can always be implemented in such a way that there are three “engines” inside it and it has the behavior of three different products (with only one remark: you cannot blame the process of configuring such a program on the user).

Each time you expand the functionality of the program in an attempt to cover another user segment, you erect extra barriers from the options and controls to all other users. You will soon find out that opportunities designed to make some users happy make it difficult for others to enjoy. Trying to cater to users with too different needs will simply kill a potentially good product. Conversely, if you narrow down the diversity of opportunities to the needs of one person, nothing else can prevent her happiness.

Robert Lutz, Chrysler's chairman of the board, said that about 80% of drivers who participated in focus groups felt extreme dislike for the new Dodge Ram pickup. Nevertheless, the car was put into production and became the best-selling car due to the fact that the remaining 20% ​​simply fell in love with it. To make people love your product, even if they are in the minority, is the secret that will lead you to success.

The larger the target, the less likely you are to hit the bullseye directly. If your goal is to bring the level of satisfaction with the product to 50%, you will not be able to do this, making each of the wider audience happy by only 50%. This can be achieved only by highlighting 50% of users from this circle, and make each of them 100% happy. But that is far from all. You will achieve even greater success if you focus only on 10% of your market segment, but cause them to be one hundred percent ecstasy. This approach seems paradoxical, however designing for a single user is the most effective way to make a wide audience happy with your product.

Roller case and stickers

A good example of how effective design can be for one person is a suitcase on wheels. Once this small suitcase with extendable wheels and a folding handle made a small revolution in the whole luggage industry, while it was not designed for everyone and everyone. Initially, it was intended only for the crew of aircraft - a very narrow segment of the audience. The simplicity of the device of this product fully satisfied the needs of this group of consumers. However, pretty soon the rest of the travelers felt the charm of using such a suitcase. It was convenient to transport it through the crowded halls of the airport, as well as maneuver with it in the narrow aisles of the aircraft or put it in the luggage compartment.

After the suitcase on wheels earned success with its target audience, it was brought to other markets. Today you can see on sale larger suitcases on wheels, designer, armored and children's suitcases on wheels. Nowadays, finding a suitcase without sliding wheels and a folding handle is no longer so easy.

And here is another example for you, as the 3M adhesive materials engineer, Art Fry, accidentally invented one of the most useful and popular office supplies to date, trying to solve his own very specific problems. When Art Fry sang in the church choir, paper bookmarks constantly fell out of the psalter, which made him stray every time. Art Fry did not want to spoil church property with duct tape, so he began to look for a more suitable solution. He recalled that a few years before that he worked on the creation of adhesive material, which in the end was not put into production due to the insufficiently high coefficient of adhesion strength. Art covered the surface of small sheets of yellow paper with this failed material and made bookmarks of them. This is how 3M Post-It Note stickers were born.

Satisfied users are an incredibly valuable and useful asset. By focusing on a narrower circle of consumers, you get a chance to get truly loyal fans from your target segment. As mentioned in Chapter 5, “Customer Disloyalty,” loyal customers are the ones who will be your best support in difficult times. They’ll not just turn mountains and wade all the rivers to get your product, but they are also an incredibly effective marketing tool of the ever known, because they will personally recommend you to their friends. Having created a hype around your product, you can use this to conquer other segments of the market.

Gutta percha user

And although our goal is to satisfy the needs of the user, the term "user" itself presents a certain problem. The ambiguity of this term makes it as useless as a chainsaw for removing an appendix. For design, we need a more accurate tool.

When I heard from someone the term "user", it usually sounded like a "gutta-percha user" - that is, a person who is forced to bend, stretch and adapt to the needs of the current moment. However, these programs must bend, stretch and adapt to the tasks of the user - this is what our goal should be. Programmers write an infinite number of programs, guided by this mythical gutta-percha user, although it simply does not exist. When the programmer considers it permissible to immerse the user in the depths of the Windows file system to search for any data, he considers the gutta-percha user to be a reasonable person with computer literacy and able to adapt to the situation. Or another case - when the programmer considers it possible to lead the user through some complicated operation with the help of a stupid wizard, he considers the gutta-percha user to be a humble, naive, inexperienced beginner. Designing for such gutta-percha users unties the developer’s hands, allowing them to write as they see fit, hypocritically asserting that they do it “for the user”. Your real users are by no means gutta-percha.

Programmers have an impressive system on how to build software. A good programmer will not be scattered by crude generalizations about different computers and systems. One cannot hear from him: “It will work well on a computer.” What kind of computer are you talking about? What model? What operating system? Which peripherals? Also, the designer should not say that "the programs are designed for the user" or "the program will be user friendly." When they hear such words, they seem to be an excuse to impose the developer’s own interests.

In our design process, we never talk about such an abstract "user", we mean a very specific image: a person.

Be specific

The more specific we prescribe the characteristics of persons, the more effective they are in the design process. This happens because with greater detail they lose their “gutta-percha”. For example, when describing the person of Emily, we do not say that “she uses the office software package”; we specifically mean that "she uses WordPerfect version 5.1 to write letters to her grandmother." We can't let Emily just "drive to work." No, she should "drive to work on a dark blue Toyota Camry of 1991, with a gray plastic child car seat and an ugly scratch on the rear bumper." And Emily’s job is not just work. Emily “is a Global Airways account manager in Memphis, Tennessee, with her workplace in a compartment with beige partitions.” Such a detailed description is an incredibly powerful tool in the design and communication process. Thus, each of our persons is described in the most thorough manner, as specifically as possible.

As soon as we give Emily unique distinctive features, an amazing thing happens: in the minds of designers and programmers, she becomes a very real person. We can call her by name, and then she acquires an even more tangible essence, allowing developers to evaluate the intended design results from her point of view. As Emily becomes less gutta-percha, her skills, her motivation, and the goals that she wants to achieve begin to manifest. Armed with an understanding of this, we can study it in the light of the subject area of ​​our program and determine whether it can actually be considered an archetype of the user. Having carried out a similar procedure several times and gained some experience, the designer is further able to correctly form the images of persons from the first time.

Giving a person a name is one of the most important steps for her successful identification. A person who does not have a name is simply useless. In this case, no one will consider her a concrete real person.

All things being equal, I try to include people of different races, gender, nationalities and skin colors in the composition of the person. Nevertheless, I prefer to use images of typical representatives of any segment of the audience, since the reverse situation can only introduce unnecessary confusion. The stereotyped persona is good if, due to this, the images become more reliable. Observing political correctness here is not my goal - I need everyone to believe in the reality of these people. If my person is a caregiver, I’m more likely to make her female than male, but not because men do not work as nurses, but because the vast majority of representatives of this occupation are women. If we describe the user as a "computer technician", then in the form of a person appears "Nick, a pimple young man of twenty-three years old, a former member of the school club of lovers of audio and video ", rather than" Helena, a tall statuesque beauty, who attended a private school in Beverly Hills. " The credibility of images is important to me, not diversity.

To make the person more realistic in the view of the project participants, I usually associate the descriptions with the visual image - I add an image to each person. These images, as a rule, I buy for a small fee on network photo stocks, but several times I have used quick pencil sketches for this. Photos, if you want, can be cut from magazines.

A fully described, concretized person with a visual embodiment is a very powerful tool. Until the user acquires such exact characteristics, programmers will imagine that users are like them, or consider them gutta-percha. A clearly defined user persona is your key to successfully overcoming the tendency of developers to distort or neglect user characteristics. Long before the very first line of code is written, a high-quality description of the user's personality will become an unusually effective interaction design tool.

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