Users – smart or dumb?

Been on holiday for the past few weeks – the distance from work, and the clear blue seas, help give a new perspective on things.

One of these for me has been the common assumption techies have that users are fundamentally dumb. IT support people are well known for holding this view point. But then again, so do many software developers. For example, all those mega ERP-style systems that implement rigid processes assume that users can’t be allowed to think for themselves and that instead the system must do as much of the thinking for them as possible.

But the reality is that people are all actually pretty smart. If only technologists would start working from this assumption – assume that their users/customers etc are smart. If they can’t operate the technology then assume that it is the system that is dumb, not the users. This shift in mind set would not only help IT be seen to be more of an asset to the business (by reducing the amount of “them and us”), but would also allow technology to deliver more real value to the real users. Which after all is the point of technology in the first place, isn’t it?


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