These are your users

Getting back to this year’s theme, I see this video pop up from time to time in Twitter feeds and the like.

It’s been linked from this article about the Facebook log in and it reminded me of a recent phone call I had with my mother. It reflects the language barrier we encounter whenever she tries to describe a computer problem she’s having.

While we’re both college educated and speak English as our native languages, that’s of little consolation during these long-distance tech-support calls. In the past, rebooting the computer usually fixed the problem, and masked the underlying language barrier. Recently, however, she got some new network hardware, which was giving her trouble. In no time, it turned into an Abbot and Costello routine as we tried to identify the devices like cable modem, DSL modem, router, etc.

Fortunately, she got it figured out with help from my sister, but it reminded me of how we are not our target users.

Not by a long shot!

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