The following guest post is from Crystal Beasley, bad-ass user experience designer at Mozilla.
Bodies don’t lie. Brains lie. Not intentionally of course, but they just don’t know how to tell you any better. This week I had the pleasure of doing an ergonomic evaluation. They took photos of me sitting in my chair from different angles and take measurements like the distance from my elbow to the floor. If you had asked me if my chair was too high or low I would have told you it was fine. The ergo evaluator’s trained eye, however, saw my feet propped up on the casters. The chair was too tall.
In a world where the standard desk and chair are designed on an antiquated military standard for a 6 foot tall man, I simply have been sitting in chairs that are too tall all my life. My brain is just used to compensating.
That standard is too tall for 90% of humans. We’ve adapted ourselves to a million things that don’t fit us. It happens everywhere and we don’t pay attention to them because it’s always been that way. Even a literal pain in the neck fades into the background because we don’t realize it can be any different. We contort ourselves to fit the world instead of the other way around.
Making your product fit the humans who use it means watching what they unconsciously do. They may say something fits their needs, but don’t forget to watch what they do with an even keener eye.
A P.S. from Pascal: Pardon the sporadic postings lately — I’m traveling in Europe teaching entrepreneurship to the next generation of Heretics! :)