Turning a User Into an Enemy

This just happened when I tried to use my new camera – a Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 IS. Instead of giving you a USB port you can use to connect the camera to your computer. It uses WiFi – but gives you defective WiFi software. You can take pictures, but you can’t send them anywhere else.

I have an Amazon Echo Dot that also uses WiFi. But it makes this easy for the user to set up. Easy as falling off a log.

Anytime a program interacts with a user, it should ask if that interaction is working to the satisfaction of the user. If the user is not happy – alarm bells should ring, loud and clear. If a company wants to stay in business – it will pay attention. Surprisingly, many companies (and organizations) do not.

I am taking a MOOC on designing the User Interface, and reading a book on The Future of Commerce. They both stress the importance of including the user (and everyone else) as part of a team effort.

This seems shocking to many, but is nothing new. Any small community has to work this way. Any cheaters are visible to everyone else.

In large communities, this visibility, where everyone knows everyone else – often breaks down. Unless the community makes sure this doesn’t happen. It usually doesn’t, however – because the ability to cheat is so profitable.

Making everyone win is clearly a new idea.  Everyone will say they approve entirely – what else can they say? But immediately set to work getting as much as they can for themselves, and their friends. They have been doing this for hundreds of years – and see no reason to change their ways.


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