In Testing

One of your company’s most important employees could well be the ‘lazy dumb-ass goober’ that you’ve been trying to fire for years. Let’s call this person Fred.

Fred, despite his faults has an asset that could reap huge benefits for your company: his stupidity. His incapacity for rational decision processes, his physical and mental clumsiness, his unswerving talent for taking everything at face value – this is the mind set of thousands of potential clients.

Test services, products, sales techniques, web site user interfaces, applications, and any type of procedure on Fred, and observe attentively his every move.

What does he not intuitively understand?  What is he goofing up again and again? At what point does he throw his hands in the air and start swearing?  And here you can allow yourself a hollow laugh, because the fool here is not Fred, but you.

All Fred is trying to do is to make your stuff work for him, instead he’s confused and frustrated, and he “won’t be buyin’ none of your darn stoopid gear no more”.

We’re not just talking about Fred the lowest common denominator or weak link, we’re talking about newbies, the uninitiated, the people who cannot access the latest technology, the gullible people whose only crime was to be tempted by your product for the first (and possibly the only) time.

Be warned: Fred is not alone; Fred in many cases is not in the minority.

In fact, if we admit it, we’ve all occasionally been a bit Fred ourselves.

  • When you spend 10 minutes trying to find the end of the cling-film, or similarly when you’re trying to put a band-aid on one hand by using only the other.
  • When you tear your hair out trying to establish a password for the umpteenth time, only to find the criteria are hidden just off the bottom of your screen.
  • When you need to know the posology of medicine and you need to read an entire booklet of tiny writing at 3am with a throbbing head.
  • When you’ve lost your glasses and you need your glasses to find your glasses.
  • When you take a broken tool back to the shop and the after-sales guy fixes it by pushing a small button that you didn’t know existed.
  • When the instruction manual uses terms that you cannot be expected to know…and any of the stupid situations that we find ourselves in because we haven’t the same mindset as the people who invent and sell these things.

Fred is not to blame, Fred is the client and a clever, forward-thinking agile company is Fred proofed.

Integrate Fred tests into every aspect of design, production and marketing, and you’ll reap the rewards.

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