psychology

A Gentle Rant About the Usability of User Accounts

Recently I was involved in a massive migration project involving IdentityServer and OIDC. But that’s a story for another time. This post comes from the other side of the tracks, from the point of view of a mild-mannered user trying to create and manage their user account on your site. As software people, one of our main goals should be to delight our users. Unfortunately, as a user myself, I am often underwhelmed, frustrated, and decidedly un-delighted when faced with managing my user account.

Cryptocurrency Trading for Dum-dums — Wait… It is?

“Hey, can I make money trading crypto?" — For technologists, this question is starting to feel like the new, “Can you fix my computer?” Except that this question is so much worse, the stakes so much higher. So my response is to get all shifty and uncomfortable, launching into an super subtle staring contest with my drink. Of course, the short answer is an eyebrow scrunching, lip puckering, “um… yes…?". And yes, that’s a “yes” couched delicately between two ellipses, like an egg in the mouth of a Golden Retriever. Because “yes” is also the answer to a question like, “Can I be a spaceman and fly to the moon?”

To Trust an Extension

“Voice hoarse, I heaved a huge shoulder-slumping sigh. I’d just wanted to maximize the thing. Instead there I was yelling at all the kids on my lawn, throwing rocks at a cloud, ranting on about non-existent terms like Trust-Driven-Development. Who hurt me, you ask?” It was the forth annual company campout and we were huddled around the fire pit swapping horror stories gathered from the dark depths of the software industry, holding the fire at bay with an array of steely s’more forks.

Front Toward Enemy - When a "Killer Feature" Becomes Friendly Fire.

Can your product’s “killer feature” — that amazing bit of utility that sets it apart from the competition — actually drive customers away from your product? Consider one example.

Does This Compliment Sandwich Taste Funny to You?

Eight words. “Hey, can I see you in my office?” Whatever important tasks hung spinning in the air around you darken to match your widening pupils, then plummet to the floor in a slow-motion Broadway disaster. Eight words and the serene, ever-smiling avatar of your boss.