Every user lies, albeit unconsciously

A great piece on Coding Horror titled Every user lies shared by Jamie plucks at a lot of my currently wobbling strings (see my post on Horizon and user manuals).

Personally, I think the title is a bit leading, as I doubt anyone in the field of cognitive economics (if there is such a thing) would accuse all ‘users’ of consciously lying all of the time, but the fact that we think and say things that aren’t necessarily true, feels very very true indeed.

The piece supports my long held belief that someone should have made a decent semi automatic compact camera without all those awful icons of mountains and flowers (Lomo got closest by philosophy – Rule #4), because no one ever really uses them (do they?).

Sadly, it also points out the flaw in such a desire to simplify things, in that people will always want the one with more options, even if they don’t use them.

We allow ourselves to feature creep.

Our aspirations are bigger than our stomachs. 

Again I’m left feeling bad for pondering how this knowledge of a weakness can help the design process. Placebo features maybe, that don’t really work and that don’t get in the way of core functionality. Or even just mumbo-jumbo science like in shampoo commercials. Make people feel like they’re buying something important.