The human behind the computer

Isn’t it strange that we live in a world where being able to think about humans is a specific skill or talent?

Picture by Averie Woodard

Again and again I come in contact (and sometimes conflict) with intelligent, educated and experienced people running companies who have no clue that there is a human being sitting behind the computer, pressing the buttons they created.

But that human does not think of the buttons or the workflows or the re-usable code behind that application. That human… thinks of other things.

That human is anxious. He might be thinking about how his friends have a better career than him, maybe this app will help him get ahead. She might be worried that climate change will devastate her future. Maybe this app will help her spread the message.

That human is superstitious. They wear a mask below the chin, assuming the virus will see it and be gone. Some humans believe in UFOs and some believe in free markets. Some even believe they succeeded only because of their own merit. Maybe the app will find people with same beliefs.

That human is biased. Our brains are a mess. We can’t remember anything. We forget to dry the clothes, or to turn off the computer. We spill coffee on our laptop. We forget birthdays, and we forget medicines. Maybe the app will help them remember important things.

That human is a bag of paradoxes. Want to be famous, but also want to be private. Want to have own way, but also want to be seen as generous. Want to be proud, but also want to be humble. Maybe the app will give them both things.

And while humans themselves are creating the apps for other humans, we forget all this. We talk about technologies and tools and efficiency and code and mockups and wireframes and tooltips, sitting blissfully ignorant of the human behind the computer.

Apps designed for humans, even now, are a luxury.

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