Product management glosary

The User Is Drunk

What is "The User Is Drunk"?

"The User Is Drunk" is a popular concept in the field of product management and user experience (UX) design. It emphasizes the importance of creating simple, intuitive, and easy-to-use products by assuming that users are metaphorically "drunk" when interacting with a product. This means that users have a limited attention span, are easily distracted, and may struggle to understand complex interfaces or instructions. By designing products with this mindset, product managers and UX designers can create more accessible and user-friendly experiences for all users, regardless of their level of expertise or familiarity with the product.

Origin of the Concept

The concept of "The User Is Drunk" was popularized by UX designer Will Dayble in a 2014 presentation. Dayble explained that when users are intoxicated, they have difficulty focusing, are easily frustrated, and have a limited ability to process information. By treating users as if they are in this state, designers can create products that are simple, clear, and easy to use, even for users who are not familiar with the product or its features.

Key Principles of "The User Is Drunk" Design

There are several key principles that product managers and UX designers should keep in mind when applying the "The User Is Drunk" concept to their work:

  1. Clarity: Ensure that all elements of the product, including text, images, and navigation, are clear and easy to understand. Avoid using jargon or complex language that may confuse users.
  2. Consistency: Maintain a consistent design and layout throughout the product, so users can easily navigate and understand how to use different features.
  3. Feedback: Provide users with immediate feedback on their actions, so they know if they have successfully completed a task or if they need to make adjustments.
  4. Efficiency: Minimize the number of steps and clicks required for users to complete tasks, making it easier for them to achieve their goals.
  5. Flexibility: Design the product to be adaptable to different user needs and preferences, allowing users to customize their experience as needed.
  6. Error Prevention: Anticipate potential user errors and design the product to prevent or minimize these errors, reducing user frustration and confusion.

Benefits of "The User Is Drunk" Design

Applying the principles of "The User Is Drunk" to product management and UX design can lead to several benefits, including:

  • Improved Usability: By simplifying interfaces and making products more intuitive, users can more easily understand and use the product, leading to a better overall experience.
  • Increased User Satisfaction: When users can easily navigate and complete tasks within a product, they are more likely to be satisfied with their experience and continue using the product.
  • Reduced Support Costs: Products that are easy to use and understand require less customer support, reducing the overall cost of supporting the product.
  • Broader Appeal: By designing products that are accessible to users with varying levels of expertise and familiarity, companies can appeal to a wider audience and potentially increase their customer base.

In conclusion, "The User Is Drunk" is a valuable concept for product managers and UX designers to keep in mind when creating new products or improving existing ones. By designing products that are simple, clear, and easy to use, companies can provide a better user experience and ultimately increase user satisfaction and loyalty.