How about this as an alternative: The user is stuck in a very (corporate/government/sluggish) environment. I will review your site/app from a major bank's / federal government's offices and report back!
Or maybe this: The user is a 65 year old dad whose son doesn't come around often enough to ensure his father hasn't installed countless malware that he blames "internet" on. I will go to my dad's house and use his computer to browse your site/app and report back!
This list really should get longer, HN, I turn to you.
Downvoters are sexist.
If my service targets general population and I'm using only men in UX testing, I'm not being sexist - I'm just being an idiot, missing out on feedback that could be relevant to 50% of my audience.
With regards to your last comment; again I don't understand.
"I'm not being sexist - I'm just being an idiot"
"I'm not targeting only the tech savvy - as above"
"I'm not forgetting accessibility - as above"
"I'm not ignoring usability - as above"
"I'm not a fan of IE6 - as above"
Surely 'The user is a woman' suggestion is one method of cutting down on web designers making unthinking gender-related assumptions, just as the 'User is drunk' person is trying to provide a service related to competency-related assumptions...
Also, you've admitted that gender matters since by general population statistics 50+% of your users aren't men? So like... seems like it'd be a legit topic to discuss?
What, is it against the rules? No, I don't think it is. I think you should ask yourself why the topic makes you so upset/uncomfortable.
Regarding "nothing changes" he's spot on adding other groups that are entitled to fair and equal consideration. He's expanding the discussion, which is the point of this place (or is suppose to be).
Regarding 'speak for yourself', I have to agree with him. When someone uses 'you' or 'your' in a sentence indicating someone specific should 'confront your own preconceptions' what they are really doing is making a blanket blaming statement across a group of people on whether or not they have preconceptions.
That's a conversational no-no because someone doesn't have the right to speak for me on my behalf. It's the trust, man. It's the trust.
It's not among my most productive times, but it's fun. :)
( I may be making assumptions about the user base, but I think "bored developer" is a reasonably safe bet...)
Side project idea: HN/PH where the ratings are hidden. This way you still get the curation bit, but people are free to make up their own minds about your website.
There are no limits to Excel.
I've been sent floor plans in Excel where the spreadsheet has been zoomed out really really far, each square representing less than a square meter in a 20000+ square meter building.
Or banking applications where the terminal input screen (the backend is in COBOL) and batch reports are designed in (and print to) perfect square cell Excel files, one character per cell.
This goes through a very traditional corporate waterfall testing process, and everyone finds it normal.
I want cannabis-inspired feedback.
* pointless process,
* extraneous fields,
* improperly labeled things,
* poor ordering,
* sloppy UX flow,
* excessively accurate controls,
* super-tiny buttons,
* things when you're like that.
I think it's a lovely idea and more systems should be designed with that in mind.
Drunk, I might be able to operate a computer as well as my grandmother; so, if it can support me drunk, it can support my grandmother.
He includes a link to his website, which has a very tiny and fairly condense header bar but plenty of white space. Perhaps he should hire himself?
Also, OP's post seems more like "The UX Consultant is Drunk".
And you're right.
If you are an alcoholic, you probably should check out AA in addition to checking in to a detox/rehab program where you will have a therapist and a psychiatrist. As a matter of fact, many "real trained and certified therapists" will suggest that you at least check out a few meetings.
What's important is to know that if it doesn't work out, it doesn't mean you've failed. But it's really, really hard to stop drinking when you are an alcoholic, and it would be foolish to exclude any safe solution that could potentially help you recover from a fatal condition.
When getting sober, there are worst things you could be doing with your time than socializing with other recovering alcoholics for an hour or two, even if you don't like the message.
I should add, I am an atheist and it was never an issue in all my time in AA.
Given that there's pretty good evidence at this point that AA doesn't work on average, either a) AA didn't actually help you (you would have done it on your own anyway) or b) AA did help you, but that is balanced by an equal amount of harm so that the average still comes out as "not effective".
In either case the conclusion is unescapable that AA should not be relied on at all. At best, you're going to get nothing out of it and you're wasting psychological resources you can't spare. At worst, you're gambling that you're the kind of person it helps, rather than the kind of person it makes things worse for.
I don't want to sound harsh here, but people who have both used AA and recovered from alcoholism seem to have a rationality blindspot around it. From an objective perspective, this is not all that different from a cancer survivor crediting their remission to the "energy crystals" their guru recommended.
I'm super glad for you that your cancer cleared up, but I'm going to keep telling people that those crystals are bullshit.
Does not compute, sorry.
Kelly J. F., Magill M., Stout R. L. How do people recover from
alcohol dependence? a systematic review of the research on
mechanisms of behavior change in Alcoholics Anonymous.
Addict Res Theory 2009; 17: 236–59.
J.B. Kingree, Martie Thompson, Participation in alcoholics anonymous and post-treatment abstinence from alcohol and other drugs, Addictive Behaviors, Volume 36, Issue 8, August 2011, Pages 882-885, ISSN 0306-4603, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2011.03.011.
The article was specifically about this issue that AA blames it on the participants if their method fails. Which is pretty absurd, again, if you think about it.
It's like claiming I have a cure for cancer that works in 99% of all cases, but only in cases where it works.
(Edit: this is the article, it was on HN after all http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/03/the-irra... )
Although I mostly solved the drinking problem myself, outside of AA, AA still helped me.
I compare it to attending Church. I am not a fan of organized religion, nor am I religious, but I have met some great people there.
It's not true to claim that there is no solid evidence suggesting that AA is not effective. There is a lot of shitty evidence both supporting and discrediting 12 step programs, and the author of the linked article has found plenty of shitty science to wave his hand at. Look through the dates of the studies referenced - 1967, 1981, 1985, 1996. The most recent paper there is almost 20 years old, with the exception of Project MATCH (2006), which the author appears to have not read very closely.
The Project MATCH paper which the author above dismisses as "showing everyone does the same with or without AA" actually shows that "12-step treatment had more than double the number of patients who were continuously abstinent at one year after treatment and about one third more at three years after treatment." That does not strike me as being "the same". The latter interpretation of the results comes from Harvard Medical School professors, the former from some random anonymous dick on the internet.
An article on the topic from the aforementioned Harvard Medical School professors (who are addressing a particularly well known "debunker" of AA, who also coincidentally has his own method he is trying to sell) can be read here - http://commonhealth.wbur.org/2014/04/defense-12-step-addicti.... It references many recent, randomized, controlled studies that directly contradict the assertion that AA has no effect.
My own personal experience is that AA, when stripped down, is very strongly reminiscent of CBT (which I have also been on the receiving end of), mixed in with a strong social support network. I also have seen that AA in practice varies wildly from place to place, so my own experience is likely not the same one that you'd have in the Bible Belt or elsewhere.
If you're struggling, by all means check out a meeting AND talk to your doctor. If you hate AA, don't go anymore.
I tried and failed repeatedly to get sober on my own and with medical treatment for about 8 years, from 26 to 34. Since I have started going to AA, I have been sober for the longest period of time since I was legal to drink (19).
If I had read that smug, halfassed article you posted, I probably wouldn't have gone, and I probably would be either drunk or quite possibly dead, given my intake and behaviour. Addiction is no joke. If you don't know what you're talking about, keep your ignorance to yourself.
It seems that one could support alternative goals (like "reduced incidence of harmful alcohol use") for which AA might not be so well suited.
As an aside, I certainly don't mean to suggest that AA is the be-all end-all, just that it's a tool that is often the target of abuse from those who don't necessarily know better.
AA indeed does emphasize complete abstinence. Many people, myself included, reach a point where moderation ceases to be a viable path - such a person may moderate successfully for a short period of time, but their alcohol use typically escalates rapidly back to the level that got them into AA or beyond.
Some people might be able to go from alcoholic drinking patterns back to safe alcohol use, but the only way I know of to find out if an individual falls into that class is to let them drink and see what happens. The risk/reward ratio there does not favour drinking - if it works out, you can have a few beers with friends (and not feel any of the effects that makes an alcoholic want to drink). If it doesn't work out, it could end in homelessness, cirrhosis, imprisonment and so on.
The outcomes in the above risk/reward scenario is not hypothetical - I have met people with a lot of sobriety under their belt who returned to what they thought would be controlled drinking and who failed miserably. A good friend of mine reached 8 years sober and was suspended from his job for 18 months after falling off the wagon. 20 years sober, started drinking and got a divorce and wound up in a rehab facility for the indigent. 15+ (I forget exactly) years sober, lost his license to practice law and spent some time in prison. For myself, one of my returns to "controlled drinking" ended with me consuming 26 ounces of liquor in 90 minutes, picking a horrific argument with my wife, and going out to the bar by myself for at least 15 more standard drinks. As a fun side note, I punched that into a blood-alcohol calculator at one point and my BAC was around the LD50 mark. I have no idea how I was physically capable of walking, let alone ordering more.
Alcoholics obsess, in the real sense of the word, over finding a way to return to moderate alcohol use (or heavy alcohol use without negative consequences). I think helping people moderate is a reasonable goal, but I'd think you would need to have an accurate picture of their drinking to determine if it's a safe course of action, and addicts tend to lie about their substance abuse - as far as my doctor was concerned, I only drank moderately a few times a week. She only found out that was not the case when I made an appointment specifically to seek help.
I think this post is a bit self-contradictory in a way. I am all for harm reduction where it makes sense, but in my experience, when somebody reaches the point where they are clearly alcoholic, that door has already closed. I think the role of harm reduction for alcohol abuse might really be to stop people from getting to that point.
I'd like you to reflect on the fact that you are suggesting people avoid the primary form of treatment suggested by the National Institute of Health, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the American Psychiatric Association, the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care System, and many other large organizations. You are recommending against a successful mode of treatment for people who have a problem that is potentially life-threatening, that destroys both their lives and that of their families.
To be fair, said anonymous dick isn't the only person interpreting the results that way. For example, the only two references on the Wikipedia article about MATCH (that aren't dead links) agree  .
I'm curious what the actual data looks like that so many seemingly-smart people can draw nearly opposite conclusions, but I'm having trouble finding it.
(My original snarky thought: If you have the willpower to finish reading Infinite Jest, dealing with addiction will be no issue...)
Always interesting to see what kind of marketing stunts get you to the front page.
If this were to be taken seriously, a guy regularly getting drunk is just sad, as alcoholism is a real problem that this seems to be brushing aside.
Live the dream!
Either way, amusing to see someone compare getting drunk to running a marathon.
Looking back, I now know I had an alcohol problem. It affected my work (couldn't concentrate) and it affected my health (gained weight). I'm still young, so I hope there are no permanent effects from my drinking.
I think there's a fine line between what's ok and what's not. If it actually becomes an addiction and you "need" it to survive the day-to-day, of course that's a problem. Obviously in many (most? all?) cases the individual is too close to the problem to accurately diagnose for themselves.
I also do a lot of sober activities, including sports so... IDK. I'm a well-rounded drunk?
He's a man in his prime, let him have some fun.
P.S.: This way I stay away from alcoholism, too.
I call it the 'mum test'. My mum cannot use computers at all yet somehow she can buy stuff online.
My mum can't read that light grey text on a grey background in spider.ttf 10px!!!
My mum can't work that stupid menu you have.
My mum also has a 1366 x 768 'netbook' from a bygone era. The screen has a viewing angle designed for goldfish. Her broadband is rural flavoured.
My mum is also a bit of a snob. Any graphic chintz will be frowned on and ignored. My mum is entirely product and UX focused (in her own special way).
If she can buy from your site and get items delivered then you have passed my 'my mum' test.
Seriously though, the test on a regular 1366x768 Windows/Chrome OS laptop with high-glare screen, lame CPU, lame memory/disk is not something done early enough in most projects. Many, many people have such computers, not everyone has Apple/Android.
well done, everyone.
Unix's developers just didn't grok usability. At all. As a result, Unix is very sensitive to even small mistakes. It's like the OS was not intended to be operated by humans, with faulty memories and clumsy fingers.
VMS, on the other hand, was much more tolerant of drunk users, or just tired sysadmins who haven't had enough coffee. These considerations were baked in from the start, resulting in a far more robust command line environment.
To be fair, I'm completely sober and you haven't paid me $50, so maybe that's why it didn't work.
Actually just a slight error with the last git push, it's fixed now. Thanks for the (free) heads up
A drunk person is not going to want to read that many syllables per word, or think about weird acronyms.
Please add paypal payment and I'm in.
Please check out AA if you or anyone you know relies on alcohol. aa.org.
When you are drunk, would you be actually in the state of mind where you can document the issues ?
Even if you record your observations, will you remember the thought process that was happening in your mind while you did the review? Which is the most critical part of Usability Review.
Assuming the core idea is to test when an intoxicated person has effects like problem with muscle co-ordination and lack in decision making...
Probably a nice marketing trick...
Unfortunately their last review dates from 2012 (ThreeSheets, if you hear me .. please come back !)
E.g., Check this hilarious Microsoft Surface drunk review:
I also like your `easy on the eye` site.
I peeked at the code and found this little tiny typo:
<meta property="og:url"content="http://theuserisdrunk.com/" />
I knew quite a few guys at uni shooting for that same target...
dude, you do frontend development for a social network. how self-aggrandizing can you be. just say you work for a social network ffs.
I'm working on building a tool to help scientists share their insights.
If it wasn't then I agree, it comes on a little strong.
See recent articles on reproductive health, biological evolution, deep-sea physics, and cognitive science.
Claire Cameron, my old flatmate, does! Nautilus is amazing!
Good for you, I also believe I'm changing the world, and I'm not here building rockets or anything like that.
Although I can't tell if his "changing the world" comment was tongue-in-cheek or not, the tech industry does have a problem with self-importance... or at least, that's the broad perception of the industry, to the point that it gets parodied in media (see: HBO's Silicon Valley).