02-08-2019

The Ordinary World of the Hero

Office hero

Adam Lefton writes in a Medium Post about the outdated and unethical use of the term user, to refer to people at the mercy of the systems we design. I am hesitant to introduce yet another new buzz word to the team I work with, we've been making steady progress to introduce User Experience as part of the vocabulary we use.

However, I agree with the sentiment Adam expresses. Users, human beings, are complex systems and we run the risk of reducing them to a single user journey per event. To be really honest, human beings are messy. They are put together from emotion, prejudice. Yet, we design and architect as if people were little encapsulated systems.

There is an ordinary world that gives context to a person who sits in front of a system and interacts with it. This human, this life form, this person, will never completely fit the mold we try to hold a persona for a story in. This human interacting with our technology has hopes, fears and dreams.

This human, from an ordinary world, has all the pain and joy and complexities that you and I experience daily. For the office admin worker, our system is the device through which she serves the person shouting at her for service that is taking too long. For a financial advisor, our systems hold the key to decisions that are made that impact people's wealth and their future. Let's then, before we embark on simply writing a user story, plotting a user journey, be mindful of the ordinary world with its struggles and ordinarity the person at the end of your system, come from. Can we transform their lives by how we design?

In our next blog post, we'll discover how Campbell's second step, calls us to adventure!