Kathy Sierra on Making Users Awesome, Part 2

In the book, Badass: Making Users Awesome, Kathy Sierra analyzed and discussed the new ways of thinking about designing and sustaining successful products and services.

These are some of my takeaways from reading the book.

In this section, Kathy discusses the science of badass. When we try to help our users become “badass” at using our products/services, Kathy believes we need to do at least two things:

  1. Help our users continue building skills/resolution/abilities.
  2. Help our users continue wanting to do so.

Expertise is not about years of experience or even a depth of knowledge. True experts repeatedly demonstrate their deep knowledge via consistently high performance.

Kathy defines “badass” as “Given a representative task in the domain, a badass performs in a superior way, more reliably.”

When we are badass at something, it means we make excellent decisions or choices more reliably than experienced non-experts.

Before we can help our users become badass, we must define what expertise is for the subject matter or the bigger context for our tool.

We need to define what expert performance and results look like. It is up to us to create a useful definition of what “expert” performance means for our context.

Other than the sports that depend on specific physical prerequisites, very few domains have hard genetic limits for expertise. Most people build expertise via motivated, focused practice.

While we cannot necessarily give our users extra time and space for practice, our tool should give them the support and utilities that make every learning moment as effective as possible.