Build polite software
The principle of polite software is a great cheatsheet while improving your product design skills.
Even if you are already experienced in product development, you’ll learn a lot on the job. Particularly about the requirements of users in your niche.
The book “Inmates are Running the Asylum” is a great help. In particular, the rules of “Polite Software” are very useful. They’re as follows:
- Polite software is interested in me
- Polite software is deferential to me
- Polite software is forthcoming
- Polite software has common sense
- Polite software anticipates my needs
- Polite software is responsive
- Polite software taciturn about it’s personal problems
- Polite software is well informed
- Polite software is perceptive
- Polite software is self-confident
- Polite software stays focused
- Polite software is fudgeable
- Polite software provides instant gratification
- Polite software is trustworthy
Depending on what the user’s job is, they might place more or less value on each of the principles.
For example, the finance department places a very high value on accuracy and a negative value on fudgability.
Buyers, on the other hand, require good responsiveness and a great deal of common sense.
And the customer service department might value interfaces that are forthcoming and allow them to see the whole picture.
I make things that run on the web (mostly).
- The Inmates Are Running the Asylum by Alan Cooper
How to make tech work with business more effectively
- Disrespectful Design—Users aren't stupid or lazy
"It's a common narrative in tech to design products with the assumption that users are stupid and lazy. I think that is both disrespectful and wrong."
- Examples of polite software
A list of examples of the different principles of polite software
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