Jun 27 2011 :: by Alex Yumashev
I just overheard this conversation between two developers at a co-working site:
"I plan creating a prototype for my new XXXX application, whatcha think it should be - a web-app, or a desktop app?"
The answer was:
"90% of your users are idiots who won't be able to tell the difference"

I think I just found my answer to the ultimate question of life universe and everything and it's not "42".

It's "90% of your users are idiots".

Now thats a questionable term to describe your customers. I don't think 90% of my users are idiots. But. That's the way to think of your users when making design decisions and building your interface.
  • Wondering if you should make this main button big or small?
    "90% of your users are idiots"
  • Wondering if it should be one button or two?
    "90% of your users are idiots"
  • Wondering if your installer should ask all those really important questions, like, how it should name the installation folder under "Program Files"? Or just perform the default action with no questions at all?
    "90% of your users are idiots"
  • You're absolutely sure that the "pricing" page of your website should have fifteen different "plans" of your SaaS application?
    "90% of your users are idiots"
  • Wondering if you should publish the installer as a ZIP-file or as an EXE-file?
    "90% of your users are idiots"
And, in good conscience, don't you want to be an idiot when you're on the other side of the screen? I do! I want to be an idiot!

Please let me be an idiot. I want things to "just work". Don't make me figure my way through all the setup procedures. "Don't make me think" (c) Steve Krug.

I've been a computer nerd since I'm 11. I mean, I love the command line and stuff... But when I urgently need a port-scanner to test my server vulnerabilities after it's been hacked, I don't want the nmap tool, with a dozen of command-line options and a bunch of drivers it requires me to install. I just want a big red "scan" button. I'm an idiot, OK?

'"90% of your users are idiots"' was written by Alex Yumashev
Alex Yumashev
Alex has founded Jitbit in 2005 and is a software engineer passionate about customer support.

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