As the designers of user interfaces we have an obligation to not only our clients, but our users and their greater working environment.

In practical terms, Triple Bottom Line Usertarianism usually means expanding the traditional user experience framework to take into account not just user and client satisfaction but the overall user-ecology.

Usertarians look beyond the user and at their environment and relationships.

Usertarians look beyond the user and at their environment and relationships.

Usertarianism is a broadly inclusive term for the concept that users experiencing software will directly or indirectly affect the nature of their home or working environment – through task accomplishment (aka the Kathy Sierra ‘kick-ass’ factor), increased or decreased stress levels, and time-saving – leading to a positive or negative impact on relationships with work colleagues, friends or family.

In summary – the software we design ultimately becomes part of a users environment… so we’re kind of environmentalists… so we need to practise environmentalism (for users)…

Environmentalism Usertarianism
Sustainability User Centred Design
Conservation Archiving Content in Context
Ecology Information Architecture
Permaculture Clustered/Related Content
Organics Folksonomy
Tree Hugger Ethnographic Researcher
Fuel Efficiency Task Efficiency
Carbon Credit ROI
Recycling Design Patterns
Wealth Distribution Accessibility
Save the Whales Save the (non-proprietary) Internet
Michael Moore Alan Cooper
Biodiversity Ubigitous
Kyoto Kelly Goto
Anti-Environmentalism Anti-Usertarianism
Urbanisation Featuristis
Nuclear Power User Meltdown
Genetic Engineering Marketing Agenda
Hunting Spy-Ware
Climate Change Design by Committee
Peak Oil Bandwidth
Globalisation Corporation Centred Design
Garbage Content Rot
Greed Cookies
SUVs Flash Only
WTO ???

Comments (4)

  1. HAYDEN

    Triple bottom line usertarianism? Consideration of users’ broader life goals? Sounds suspiciously like GDD . . 😉

  2. ZEF`

    Actually GDD (Goal Directed Design) is about the user’s own goals – but does it consider the flow-on effect? What does acheiving a goal lead to when seen in a collective context? For example: I might achieve my goal by sending out emails to my team to communicate a message – but certain team members might be stressed-out because they’re getting an overload of emails or don’t like the contents of the message. This stress could eminate throughout the office ecosystem – and feed back to me (indirectly) as a negative experience. My working ecosystem (of busy happy harmonious people), has therefore been polluted…

  3. HAYDEN

    I agree with everything you’ve said . . but I guess I’m wondering whether GDD embraces this concept . . for example if the user’s goal (explicit or implicit) is to not receive negative feedback, then the design should not allow/encourage this to happen. There are also "served personas", but I haven’t seen these used too often . .

  4. ZEF

    I sometimes create "affected" personas too. But as you said, designers need to start actively thinking/designing beyond the user and the user interface – through whatever methodology they see fit – GDD, Usertarianism, UCD – whatever… so long as it’s considered.

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