An experiment in communication
One of the most difficult jobs a designer has to do is to ship knowing there's a few nagging questions about the product. Maybe the “user” will understand the intended behavior over time or perhaps the experience will have to be tweaked.
That's why we test as much as we can.
Sometimes we think we've nailed it and off it goes into distribution only to find out that that our "simple" interface or set of instructions totally missed the mark.
Ben Bocko's response tells an all-too familiar story of the user doing exactly what he is told, in the most humorous way possible. Is it the instruction set (design) or the user’s execution?
Here was the assignment I handed out:
Write down a set of instructions for a really simple task. Examples: Brushing hair, making a simple dish, folding a piece of paper; essentially something simple enough that anyone can do and probably has done so at least once. Choose a chore and its tools according to its commonality (a pencil is common, a 3d printer is not). Keep it G rated. You will be randomly selected to send your set of tasks on to a fellow classmate.
Here was the instruction set he responded to:
1. Obtain a banana. By any means necessary.
2. Start from the NON-STEM end, break the skin.
3. Remove it.
4. Stick your finger through the middle of the banana tip to split it into three equal, long parts.
5. Put one of the thirds in your mouth.
6. Chew and swallow it. Repeat x2.
7. Discard the banana peel.