The User Is Drunk And Why It Matters In Business

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.

Key takeaways:

  • 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.

Connected Business Frameworks

Impact mapping is a product development technique based on user design, mind mapping, and outcome-driven planning. Impact mapping is an agile technique intended to help teams connect individual product features that can impact the user behaviors while connecting to the key, guiding metrics for the business.
Value stream mapping uses flowcharts to analyze and then improve on the delivery of products and services. Value stream mapping (VSM) is based on the concept of value streams – which are a series of sequential steps that explain how a product or service is delivered to consumers.
Perceptual mapping is the visual representation of consumer perceptions of brands, products, services, and organizations as a whole. Indeed, perceptual mapping asks consumers to place competing products relative to one another on a graph to assess how they perform with respect to each other in terms of perception.
The operating model is a visual representation and mapping of the processes and how the organization delivers value and, therefore, how it executes its business model. Therefore, the operating model is how the whole organization is structured around the value chain to build a viable business model.
Customer experience maps are visual representations of every encounter a customer has with a brand. On a customer experience map, interactions called touchpoints visually denote each interaction that a business has with its consumers. Typically, these include every interaction from the first contact to marketing, branding, sales, and customer support.

Connected Strategy Frameworks

Porter’s Five Forces

Porter’s Five Forces is a model that helps organizations to gain a better understanding of their industries and competition. Published for the first time by Professor Michael Porter in his book “Competitive Strategy” in the 1980s. The model breaks down industries and markets by analyzing them through five forces

Ansoff Matrix

You can use the Ansoff Matrix as a strategic framework to understand what growth strategy is more suited based on the market context. Developed by mathematician and business manager Igor Ansoff, it assumes a growth strategy can be derived by whether the market is new or existing, and the product is new or existing.

Blitzscaling Canvas

The Blitzscaling business model canvas is a model based on the concept of Blitzscaling, which is a particular process of massive growth under uncertainty, and that prioritizes speed over efficiency and focuses on market domination to create a first-scaler advantage in a scenario of uncertainty.

Business Analysis Framework

Business analysis is a research discipline that helps driving change within an organization by identifying the key elements and processes that drive value. Business analysis can also be used in Identifying new business opportunities or how to take advantage of existing business opportunities to grow your business in the marketplace.

Gap Analysis

A gap analysis helps an organization assess its alignment with strategic objectives to determine whether the current execution is in line with the company’s mission and long-term vision. Gap analyses then help reach a target performance by assisting organizations to use their resources better. A good gap analysis is a powerful tool to improve execution.

Business Model Canvas

The business model canvas is a framework proposed by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur in Busines Model Generation enabling the design of business models through nine building blocks comprising: key partners, key activities, value propositions, customer relationships, customer segments, critical resources, channels, cost structure, and revenue streams.

Lean Startup Canvas

The lean startup canvas is an adaptation by Ash Maurya of the business model canvas by Alexander Osterwalder, which adds a layer that focuses on problems, solutions, key metrics, unfair advantage based, and a unique value proposition. Thus, starting from mastering the problem rather than the solution.

Digital Marketing Circle

digital channel is a marketing channel, part of a distribution strategy, helping an organization to reach its potential customers via electronic means. There are several digital marketing channels, usually divided into organic and paid channels. Some organic channels are SEO, SMO, email marketing. And some paid channels comprise SEM, SMM, and display advertising.

Blue Ocean Strategy

A blue ocean is a strategy where the boundaries of existing markets are redefined, and new uncontested markets are created. At its core, there is value innovation, for which uncontested markets are created, where competition is made irrelevant. And the cost-value trade-off is broken. Thus, companies following a blue ocean strategy offer much more value at a lower cost for the end customers.

Read Next: Business AnalysisCompetitor Analysis, Continuous InnovationAgile MethodologyLean StartupBusiness Model InnovationProject Management.

Main Free Guides:

Scroll to Top