The User Is Drunk is a UX design and product management concept that advocates designing simple and straightforward products. The User Is Drunk concept is the brainchild of UX designer and developer Richard Littauer who noted that “your website should be so simple, a drunk person could use it.” To that end, design teams must assume that drunk users need help with the most simple of tasks. Then, they must strive to make it impossible for them to fail.
Understanding The User Is Drunk
The User Is Drunk concept is the brainchild of UX designer and developer Richard Littauer who noted that “your website should be so simple, a drunk person could use it.” To that end, design teams must assume that drunk users need help with the most simple of tasks. Then, they must strive to make it impossible for them to fail.
Seeing the value in Littauer as a web designer who likes to drink, companies then hired him to review their products or websites while under the influence of alcohol. He has now worked with over 50 organizations, including Gizmodo, HubSpot, VWO, and Shopify.
In the next section, we will discuss what Littauer learnt as a drunk user and how product managers and designers can benefit.
Two core concepts of The User Is Drunk
Concept 1 – Keep it simple
Product or design teams naturally become very familiar with their projects, but this familiarity can come at the expense of objectivity. How might an inebriated user find their way around a website or app?
At the very least, a drunk user will experience difficult navigating and finding the things they need. In fact, they should be treated the same as a completely new user. Wherever possible, teams should remove, refine, or rework steps to ensure the drunk user experience is as seamless and inviting as possible.
Concept 2 – Assume that the user is distracted
Littauer argues that many UX teams design products with the assumption that every user will give them their full attention.
However, most people use apps or browse websites in a state of distraction that is often exacerbated by alcohol. Therefore, it is important to ensure that product or website design makes allowances for drunk users who are unable to devote 100% of their mental energy toward a task.
In other words, navigating an app or website should only require partial focus and mental aptitude.
Three mistakes that websites make for drunk users
According to Littauer, these are the mistakes websites make that could potentially result in users clicking away:
- Dark UX patterns. Drunk users are especially sensitive to newsletter sign-up requests and chat pop-ups that try to push them in a certain direction.
- Excessive text. In a distracted state and with a shorter attention span, drunk users are highly unlikely to read walls of text.
- Red and green colours. Littauer is color blind, so these colours make navigation harder. But he argues that many websites do not cater for users with disabilities, and these shortfalls become irritating quickly when drunk.
- The User Is Drunk is a user design and product development framework that favours simplicity. It works on the assumption that drunk users will need help in achieving the simplest of tasks.
- The User Is Drunk is based on two core concepts. Teams must be focused on simplicity and objectivity and assume that a drunk user is highly distracted.
- The User Is Drunk creator Richard Littauer notes that drunk users are especially sensitive to Dark UX patterns, excessive text, and sites that do not cater for disabilities.
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