Kathy Kicks Ass

Kathy Sierra gave an witty, fast paced presentation titled: Tools for Enchantment – 20 Ways to woo users. The aim of which was how can we enable our users to kick ass?


  1. The hi-res user experience – have a constant changing improving environment.
  2. The difference between fantastic – we need to put the effort in to achive mastery.
  3. Use telepathy – You have to see peoples faces when they use your site. You can infer alot through their facial expressions. You need to feel your users pain.
  4. Serendipity – Brains love pattern matching. There are people who think their iPod shuffle is psychic. Lesson: Add randomness or psuedo randomness but not chaos. Create a Pick of the day, etc.
  5. The dog ears principle – the ears move after the head – iPhone scrolling bounces at the top; it subtly creates joy. Create joy and the brain finds it playful and makes learning and acceptance easier.
  6. T-shirt first development – What does it say about someone that they are one of you users?
  7. Easter Eggs – Create them. It’s fun. Inside references make people feel they belong.
  8. Tools for evangelism – allow your users the tools to sell to other users.
  9. You are a … – reduce the stress in the UI
  10. Exercise the brain – the best way is take exercise. Keep your body fit and your brain will be fit.
  11. Give users super powers quickly – Get people enabled to do something cool.
  12. Learn to do knowledge acqisition and respresentation – Give people patterns
  13. ?
  14. No best practice – let the off the hook often. This is the different between “Oops” Vs “Bastards”
  15. Help reinvestment of mental resources into new happenings – allow people time to focus. The non-expert checks off the boxes. The expert never shrinks the list. Attention offsets. If you do something that steals people’s attention, then give something that will give them more attention or focus.
  16. Create a culture of support – get people being mentors quickly. No dumb questions. No dumb answers. Encourage peopel to start asking and answering questions.
  17. Do not insist on inclusivity.
  18. Practice seductive opacity – turn the brain on. Mystery, anticipation, curiousity. Apple is for people who want to wait to open their presents at xmas. “It’s not secrecy, it’s theatre” – Diane Acerman. We love real things, not just digital things.
  19. Atom is not old school. i.e. Make magazine. It’s not boomer nostalgia.
  20. Do what this guy does? Gary of winelibrary.com does all this stuff. Make your views entertaining.

Everything she covered in presentation, you’ll find at her excellent blog Creating Passionate Users. She’s written a tonne of books on Java programming.


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