There, I said it. I feel better already. There are people in the world who’ll tell you that the most important thing in the world is UX, that if your software isn’t UX-compliant it isn’t worth shit. Here’s why that’s wrong.
“Consider the user.” “The user is king.” Yeah? Well why do you name your vaunted “user” after a fucking drug addict? You’re lying, because you know no other life. The user is the poor schmuck that you’re trying to push your apps on, just like a crack dealer. Only of course you don’t call it “crack dealing”, you call it “freemium” and act like it’s some kind of fucking service to let your crackheads – sorry, users – “get familiar” with the product before you start bleeding their wallets.
Besides, what does it even mean? Consider the user. I looked at my software, and I think users should be grateful that I let them even fucking touch the app store page with their filthy uneducated hands. There, I’ve “considered” the cretins, so I’m doing UX right am I?
The only examples are bad examples
Ever seen a UX talk at a software dev conference? I’d be surprised if you haven’t, because these vultures who call themselves “UX consultants” are actually professional speakers who love nothing better than to tell us hard-working developers how we do everything wrong. You’ll be able to spot them if you’re at a conference, they’re the people with the designer jeans and the designer wine glasses and the fucking designer nostril hair. They’ll open their talk with some rant about how the starving children in Africa can wait for help until someone’s fixed the way the fucking tap works in the shower of their six-star hotel room they were in when they gave the same talk in Dubai or some other place us lowlife software engineers can’t afford to visit. You’ll get the impression that we’re the Morlocks, and this fucking Eloi has deigned to come down from the surface to remind us how much better life is up there, and only wants £2000+expenses to do it.
And then what’s the talk about? It’s a series of examples of what they say is really bad UX, that we’re supposed to sit there and laugh at with them? Fuck that shit. Some colleague of mine has been sitting in a cubicle busting a gut to produce this piece of software, probably with some manager riding their ass and a bunch of conflicting requirements coming from the douchebags in marketing and sales and business analysis and all those other people who don’t know how the fuck a computer works but think their opinions are somehow valid. And this engineer somehow performs the miracle of reconciling all these different inputs, making everybody happy and at the same time writing this gnarly piece of software. You want me to laugh at that? Whoever that is should be given a medal.
The best bit is of course that these examples are completely worthless. My product doesn’t make people choose which of the fifty states they’re in even when they don’t live in the US. It isn’t some bridge somewhere that projects the cock-signal onto itself at sunset. It isn’t some medical device that kills patients when the nurse forgets to press a button. That means I’m doing better than all the examples, which means I’m doing UX right. Right?
If you manage to get past the fluff talk and the bad examples and trap a UX person into asking what a good example is, you’ll get a different answer every sodding week. Last week they were all telling us how interfaces should be discoverable and how you should have UI elements with clear actions like buttons and things. This week it’s all about these completely arcane and undiscoverable gestures; I mean what the fuck? The last twitter app I downloaded made me page through about ten pages of user manual before it even let me send a fucking tweet, which is the whole point of the piece of crap. You’re supposed to swipe right with three fingers making the shape of the Eye of Horus or some bullshit to retweet, or something like that. The fact is I didn’t read the manual (sorry, “soft landing” as the hipsters want me to call it) so I’ve got no fucking clue how to do even the simplest of things.
And that’s just this week’s UX hotness. Next week it’ll all be Jordi LaForge visors or some crap, because that went really well for that Virtuality company back in the 1990s.
Which brings me on to the next way to win at UX without actually doing any work. Build whatever shitty UI you want, and just wait for the UX consultant circlejerk to decide that the way you did it is the way all apps should do it. You’ll only need to wait a fortnight, maybe a month tops.
Everything – or anything – is UX
The best thing is that you too can be in on this party! Whatever you know now, whatever you’re an expert in, you can claim is part of the user experience. You know OpenCL? That’s about making things fast and responsive, therefore you’re a UX consultant! You know Core Audio? Making machines go “ping” when something goes wrong is part of the user experience! You’re a project manager? Fuck that, you’re a User Experience Coordinator!
And so the final way in which I’m winning at UX without really trying is that whatever the fuck it is I do is user experience. Nobody wants to be hacked, right? So security contributes to the….experience…of the…
crack addictuser, right?
Enough of this crap.
It’s time to acknowledge that UX is a complete load of snake oil, and that its biggest contribution to society has been to reduce unemployment among people who think £150 is a modest amount to pay for a shirt. It’s time to show that us engineers can make software without their help, just as we did both before they came along and indeed while they were swanning around being better than us.
Therefore I introduce my latest initiative, the Clueless Losers are Inexperienced paradigm for software design. CLI harks back to the days when we knew that computers are tricky and software is hard, and we didn’t apologise for it or pay consultants to apologise for us. It acknowledges that software is hard to write, so it’d sure as hell be hard to use and you should all be damned grateful if we allow you to use it at all.
There won’t be expensive hands-on labs or conference talks about how to make CLI apps. Just do whatever it is you need to get the software working. We acknowledge that people are inexperienced and clueless when it comes to software, so there’s no point going out of our way to make things easier for them because it just makes it easier for them to mess it up.
Oh, and I fixed that crack pusher bullshit that’s been going on. We’re not going to call people “users” like they’re some farm of addicts waiting for their next hit. The word “loser” doesn’t have those pejorative connotations, so in CLI that’s what we call people who interact with our software.
I’m really excited about the CLI, and about heralding the start of the post-UX-bubble software economy. I hope you’ll all join me in making software as complicated as it deserves to be.