What Users Do Drunk: Taking a Squiffy Look at Your Website

Richard Littauer moonlights as a user experience consultant – with his beer goggles on …

Richard is a full stack developer. Currently he is working on a grant project with MIT building a PDF annotator in a Chrome extension to help facilitate scientific research.

When he’s not busy building a PDF annotator in a Chrome extension; he is running his on-the-side business, The User is Drunk.

He likes stouts.

We were curious to know more and Richard kindly complied.

The User is Drunk

1. What is The User is Drunk?

It’s a website. On the website you can pay me money, which I will then use to buy myself and some friends some beer while I drunkenly attempt to use your website and give you good feedback.

2. How did you come up with the idea?

I was reviewing a site for a friend of mine while I was drunk. I thought “Hey, I can do this and have people pay me to do this.”

3. What is your process?

Well, first I go to the bar. But more realistically, I have a Trello board that tells me what review is up next, if there are any special requests. I then open up Screenmailer, a very good screen capture app I use, and just start filming. At the end, I deliver a document with all of the advice I gave during my ten minutes or so of reviewing. That’s about it. I drink lots of water after.

4. Have you ever taken things too far?

There’s been a few times I have laughed a bit too much or been too unhappy with a site to really give good feedback. One time I just started singing. Generally, I don’t redo a screencast – people pay me to get drunk and review their site, not to give good feedback or deliver value for their company (something a lot of people seem to miss). Generally, I don’t get responses back from those clients. I’ve refunded one client, too, because I couldn’t get sound to work while recording a gaming app on my phone. It happens.

5. Why do you think it’s important to keep the inebriated user in mind when designing UX?

Because most users aren’t interested in your site – they’re interested in what value your site gives them. People don’t have limitless bandwidth to muddle through a site. Someone who doesn’t care and will leave immediately if they don’t understand your site is generally the kind of person you want to design for, not for your CEO or for your stakeholders.

6. Is there anything specific you spot under the influence that you might not notice while sober?

Mostly that people seem to think people will read text. Drunk people don’t. Also, generally hitting all of the buttons at once or backing out in the middle of a form aren’t things that designers plan for.

7. What is the most common UX problem you spot?

Too much text.

8. How do clients generally react to your reviews?

Most of the time they are pretty grateful and think it is hilarious. I love my clients.

9. What is your pricing model?

It’s whatever cost I can keep it at to stop people from buying because I need a break and my liver didn’t get much of one for the first month. I might drop it down again if I need more money at some point, but I don’t really want to keep doing it right now too often.

10. What do you have to do with The User is My Mom?

I made that, too. My friend Scotty and I thought it would be fun to run a business together, so we did. His mother Pam was interested, and we had a lot of fun.

11. What has been your favourite site to review?

There was one where there was no CSS – it was just a student’s blog. I laughed and laughed.

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Lara Doyle

Lara Doyle

Senior Content Manager, TFM Insights

Lara Doyle is Senior Content Manager at UBM EMEA, Tech a global events business, and covers Technology for Marketing, eCommerce Expo and London Technology Week.

August 12, 2015

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