Who's the end user?

(Liveblogging – prone to error, typos and inaccuracy. And possible bias in this session…)

Starting the second day of Like Minds in the Delighting Users session, and feeling slightly suspicious, because I’ve just realised that it’s essentially a Windows Phone 7-derived session. That said, the new mobile OS has been getting good reviews, so I’m going to hang on in here and see how it goes… (liveblogging this on an iPad, incidentally. 🙂 )

OK – potted history of Windows Mobile now, to draw out the point that the earlier versions didn’t feel like they were designed for the user – and they weren’t. They were designed for the network operators. BlackBerry – feels like its designed for the CIO rather than the user. Android is an OS designed for people to build with/on it.

Bit of a political battle going on now. The session leader is saying that Apple always puts design first and is suggesting that the glass case of the iPhone 4 is “impractical”. Sceptical/hostile reaction from most of the audience, and luckily we’re moving on.

Great line from one of the designers: “We want our clients with money to get taste and our clients with taste to get money…”.

Oded Ran is challenging us to prove that our businesses are really focused on the end users, and pointing out that differing pressures within a company can shift that focus – especially if you’re not clear on who the end user is. I think the underlying point here is that the success of the new Windows Phone 7 is derived from what was probably a tough corporate shift of direction from seeing the phone networks as the customer to the actual person who holds the phone in their hand. He’s challenging simplistic notion of who the customer is – it may not be the person who signs the cheque to you… It’s the difference between the “end user” and the “customer”.

Twitter’s been brought up – and that’s complicated the debate. It was developed almost by accident. and in the early stages the users developed it – @ replies, hashtags and retweeting were all user-created, and not initially supported by the service.

Jonathan AkwueAnd now we’re on to personas – for example, the new Windows Phone 7 is very clearly targeted at what they call a Life Maximizer – looks like primarily 18-34 university educated males… However, there’s some debate emerging. Some people are standing up for personas because they help make the user a real person, others feel they lock people into rigid thinking that can hinder the product in the long-run. “Real people are better than fake people,” says Jonathan Akwue. He revisits my Twitter comments, pointing out that Twitter went with a vision, and then listened to the users to shape the future direction of the product.

Microsoft’s personas are Anna and Miles (shades of This LIfe, there…)

So why do we care what people think? Lots of debate about wether people who are happy or unhappy talk more. Akwue suggested that people will complain to 10 people for every 1 person they evangelise to – and that feels about right to me, although others disagree. Someone suggested that there are now too many components on social networks, so their impact has been lost. I think that’s nonsense, because those complaints have an impact in aggregate. My complaints may only influence my friends, but lots of people complaining to their friends has an impact.

The $1bn question: what makes us happy? Answers being flip-charted… Answers very revealing about the group, because they’re all about personal success and achievement and material things. Very little about family, friends and the one person who suggested connection with nature got mocked. Hidden shallows in here. 🙂 Ah, the social fight back has started. One person has just pointed out that it isn’t owning a laptop that makes her happy, it’s what she can do with it, particularly connecting with others…

![In the flow](http://www.onemanandhisblog.com//IMG_4899 - Version 2.jpg "IMG_4899 - Version 2.jpg")Ooh, we’ve moved onto flow and timelessness. What is flow? The moment you’re balance perfectly between challenge and skill. Stress is when external forces impact on you negatively, particularly at work. We’re not designed to spend long periods of time in a sedentary environment with people we wouldn’t naturally choose to socialise with.

Three concepts that Ran is steering us towards:

Autonomy – crucial concept. Loss of autonomy = loss of happiness.
Competence – the feeling that your are effective. (I suspect a lot of websites and tech fall down on this – they don’t make their users feel competent)
Relatedness – feeling understood and appreciated

And we’re on to a demo of how the phone matches these concepts. Attention in the room wavering…

I will admit that Windows Phone 7 does look very impressive (and very un-Microsoft, in fact) but I’m not going to add to the vast numbers of reviews of the product here. Lunch time…

[View Oded’s Presentation](http://www.slideshare.net/wearelikeminds/oded-ran-how-to-delight-users)