March 27, 2015
When it comes to optimizing the user experience on your website, one of the core tenets of UX is to design as if the user is drunk. At least, so explains UX designer and full stack developer Richard Littauer on his website The User is Drunk. But the website is more than just an explanation of one these core design principles; The User is Drunk is actually a service that Littauer is offering for companies hoping to test out whether their site’s UX is up to standards.
“I’ll get very drunk, and then review your website. I’ll send you a document outlining where I thought the website needed help, and a screencast of me going over the website,” writes Littauer on this website.
Littauer posted his idea to Hacker News a couple days ago, and it has since gained some popularity – according to Gizmodo, he first offered to perform the service for $50 (at time of writing, the price stands at $250). And The User is Drunk will literally involve Littauer getting hammered and then testing out the functionality of your site and evaluating its UX. Currently, he’s worked on two projects: one for MathBreakers.com and the other for Gizmodo. The objective is to find the flaws in your UX, pointing out where you can make improvements to make the user experience more friendly and easier.
According to Littauer each job he takes on will be featured on a screencast – meaning you can watch him as he gets progressively drunker as he works his way maneuvering through each site he explores. Additionally, Littauer provides clients with a (sober) usability report that highlights each site’s strengths, weaknesses, and rooms for improvement. You can watch screencasts for his work on MathBreakers and Gizmodo now; for a sampling, you can watch an edited, shorter version of his Gizmodo analysis below:
Per Gizmodo’s experience, writer Annalee Newitz admits that while the idea for the service is hilarious, the value that it provides is actually pretty worth it – citing the drunk user test as a good barometer for how well users respond to your website’s design. A better explanation for how and why approaching UX in this manner is valuable comes from Squareweave, an Australian digital agency that works on web and app development. In a video produced back in 2013, the company explains the idea behind approaching UX from a drunk user mentality:
Check out The User is Drunk and consider handing over the $250 to figure out where your site simply isn’t holding up. Or, I guess, you can get drunk and do it yourself.
Update: we reached out to Richard Littauer and he shared with us his motivations for The User is Drunk and why it matters to design as if the user is drunk.
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