Keynote – Kathy Sierra, Creating Passionate Users (SXSWi 2007)

Keynote – Kathy Sierra Opening Remarks
Kathy Sierra, Creating Passionate Users (SXSWi 2007)


These are my really rough notes — take them with a grain of salt, because I don’t have time to clean them up.
Why are you here? Given liveblogging, recording, twitter, why do you need to attend sxsw at all?
What is that thing about being with real humans? Smell?
Need to compensate for that missing “human-ness”
Divide you into 3 groups – Designers, Coders, Money people.
Designers: If you saw a person drowning, and you had to chose betwee saving them and photographing the event — how would you tag it in flickr?
Introduce yourself to 2 people who are not in your group.
coders and designers don’t necessarily smell the same way.
What human quality can we already add to our internet – interaction.
1. Help users get together offline.
The more people get together offline, the more thier passion grows. How to: user groups, * camp, low-cost events
Meetup.com is a great tool.
2. Make our software feel more human. What can’t computers do?
— can’t make human expressions that give critical feedback – confusion
— can’t ask real questions
photos of dogs doing head tilt.
All of our apps have Aspergers syndrome.
Give our apps a way to know that users are confused.
Nobody is passionate about things they suck at.
Chart that shows Ability vs. Time – including the “suck threshold” and the passion threshold. Getting people past one and up into the other.
whoever gets their users past the suck threshold first, wins.
add a wtf? button – let the user tell us.
FAQs and online help don’t answer the WTF? because the person who wrote thinks you’re happy, and you’re really pissed. They’re written for a different part of the curve.
The first line of the help should read: Don’t Panic
Examples of user problem with sums in a excel spreadsheet.
Canyon of pain – the gap between the FAQs and the questions that the user really wants to ask.
maybe it’s not the tools you use, but they way they’re trying to use your tool to do something… It’s what your user does with the tool…s
What are the answers?
Think like a human. Ask them questions.
Natural language processing – current research, but we’re not there yet.
Capture questions from users – answer them, post them online. The 80/20 solution
Goalso fo WTF:
– get the user to the right context ASAP.
– Give the
1 – chose from a high-level statement
– “I’m lost”
Ask a couple questions, narrow down list, then provided a list of questions.
context sensitive help can be too tree-focused rather than forest focused.
What other emotions might you be feeling? click on the face that you’re feeling.
Even if you can’t modify your app, modify the help stuff.
Books vs. classrooms – someone can raise their hand.
context sensitive information.
You want peple to say “They knew exactly what i was thinking.” You’ll know it’s successful when the user is creeped out.
examples from her horse training guides — help specific to what you’re doing with the horse because you don’t have time to look stuff up.
Most important – TALK LIKE A HUMAN. Use contractions. More conversational language to personalize. Study shows slight language changes – using the word you – increased 20-46% solutions. Your brain pays closer attention when you perceive a conversation.
Don’t talk like a non-human. Find a transcript of a real conversation.
Treat people who paid us better than the people who haven’t paid.
Better documentation is CHEAPER.
Where there is passion, there is always a user kicking ass and doing well, because doing well becomes a hi-res experience when you are passionate.
Wine – movie sideways – quote about wine – example of a hi-res experience.
Too often we don’t think about the impact of our work – think about the experience you give a user. If you can make them better at what they’re trying to do – when people are in a state of flow, those are some of the happiest times of their lives.

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