The User Is Drunk

What is The User Is Drunk?

The ” User is Drunk” concept in Product design stresses the need to make things as simple as possible when designing products or websites. It underscores the importance of solutions being so easy that even a drunk user has little problems using them.

History of Drunk User Testing

The User is Drunk is credited to front-end developer Richard Littauer, who created a website with the same name in 2015 to help popularize the idea. He argued that a website should be quite simple such that a drunk person could use the same. However, the idea of having people under the influence of alcohol test websites or products had been suggested or hinted at before Littauer created his website.

Alistair Leathwood of FreshMinds Research, for instance, suggested getting subjects drunk in a 2010 op-ed, “Hear me out: Let’s get focus group participants drunk.” Squareweave’s Will Dayble also posted an interesting analysis titled, “The User is Drunk,” on YouTube in 2013.

It is arguable, however, that Littauer’s work was what brought the concept to the attention of many people. The informal method of user research that is based on this idea is sometimes called drunk user testing (DUT). It offers a somewhat entertaining way of approaching product design.

How is it Useful?

The biggest importance of The User is Drunk is how it lays a lot of emphasis on keeping things simple. This is the secret of many great products and websites we see around – think Apple or Amazon.

Product and UX teams can become so used to the products or websites they build that they consider them highly intuitive. In their eyes, a user can never have a problem using these solutions. But the thing here is that the teams may have only become so familiar with the interfaces created; users’ experience might differ.

A feature or task that you deem easy could be impossible for the drunk user. This concept calls for ensuring that such a user has little or no problem. It compels the product or UX team to ensure that users don’t find things too complicated.

You should take note that many users these days have a short attention span. They don’t have the patience to take their time when using a product. There may be other things competing for their attention at a time. A drunken person can be used to represent such distracted users. If the former could use your website or product relatively well, then the latter could fare as well.

How does it Work?

The User is Drunk is basically about getting a drunk user to test your website or solution. It’s that simple. You observe the drunk user and take notes of what they had problems with. If they don’t run into serious hitches, you may assume that your product is simple enough.

Littauer offers the service on his website. It turned out an instant hit when it was introduced. The developer was inundated by companies that needed his help that he had to stop taking new orders. Drunk user testing may also take the form of social events. Here, alcohol (and maybe food) is served to participants. Product team members interact with the subjects while user researchers take notes.

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