SXSW Interactive

Opening remarks: Kathy Sierra on confusion

Kathy Sierra CreatingPassionateUsers

kathy-sierra.jpgKathy is a perfect performer for these opening remarks, not just because of her energy, but but because she presents simple concepts for treating people that anyone can relate to: designers, coders, and money people (i.e. the individuals she had identify themselves out of the audience, and a lot of the audience didn’t fit into any of these groups, but I digress). She has a background in game design and is astute in understanding that users are not users in a sci-fi sense; they’re people. So when she talks about Web apps and how users fall in love with that sort of product, she knows application designers should make interactions feel more human, and accept that people want to meet each other offline.

But a Web app is more than the Web: Kathy’s m.o. is creating passion, and passion comes in human interaction and you should allow users to do it. The more you can get them together offline (start user groups, sponsor a camp, hold low-cost events), the more their passion for what you are building for them grows.

And when online, the key to get users to use your product rather than someone else’s is to out-teach them, to be as helpful as possible.  She focused on FAQ’s and online help, which often are written in a way that makes you think a user is happy and mildly interested in what you have, when in actuality they’re pissed, which can be solved through speaking to them conversationally, talking to them and treating them like humans — fairly common pitfalls everyone involved in technology takes for granted when designing a product.

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