guerillagirl – user experience designer

guerillagirl's (ux) design journal

How to spot “Carol Beer UX”

Carol Beer, the super-friendly receptionist from the British series “Little Britain”, which is famous for her “Computer says no” attitude is the perfect example of someone you don’t want to have to represent your company.
So why does so many software behave like her?

How to spot Carol Beer UX:

(please note: this list may be incomplete, just to give an expression)

1) It is not polite
Think of the thing you interact with as a person. Is it likable? Does it communicate in a clear way?
Unpolite software, for example, communicates in machine language – perhaps picked with some nice boolean expressions, only hardcore developers will understand. Also, unpolite software behaves often rudely by not giving any feedback on what is going on. (All of the following points are clear expressions of unpolite software coming in different manifestations)

2) It is selfish
It does not care about you and your needs and it is not cooperative in supporting you to fulfill your goals: This means it reflects its own needs or business needs over users/peoples goals and needs. Attention begging and useless notifications, modal windows or other things that interrupt you constantly during your work and focus stealers are a good example of this behavior.

3) It has bad intentions towards you
This is the increased form of Nr #2. It is also known as dark patterns, like not giving you the possibility to leave/cancel something or forcing you to subscribe to something (e.g by providing an irritating/ misleading interaction which “traps” you into something you didn’t want)

And last but not least: It coughs at you when you want to leave.

Some links:
Computers as social actors
Grice’s politeness maxims

Seen something behaving Carol Beer-esk? Tag it with #carolbeerux

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