Think of literally anyone else

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 1 min read

In software discussions, there’s a relatively healthy trope of saying something like, “sure this would be fine for power users, but what about normal people?” That’s a good question to ask, but what comes next always bugs me. The “normal person” will always be their mom.

100% of the time, it’s their mom.

She’s always smart otherwise, but any semblance of complexity in software is an immediate no-go for her.

Also, it’s almost always people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s saying this, so the mom character they have in their head is grandmother age. They very well may have been born during World War 2.

It’s never someone’s dad, it’s never someone the same age as the person bringing up the mom persona, and it’s certainly never a younger person.

I’m of course not saying we should ignore the need of older women using software, but for the love of god can we consider other demographics when discussing how software should work? At the very least, can we admit it’s a bit icky that when we are asked to think of a user who isn’t that savvy with tech, we always go with a female persona?