A recent situation caused me identify striking similarities between the two.
Wives have EXPECTATIONS and when those are not met, they make DEMANDS. If those go unanswered they become IRATE. If they still do not get appeased, they will LEAVE in search of a better product.
In my personal situation, the EXPECTATION was that the water bill would be paid in a timely fashion. DISCLAIMER: I treat Post Office mail much like spam; just like so many unchecked checkboxes so goes the occassional water bill.
Then came the DEMAND: first from the water company, but I failed to notice the large pink notice on our garage door, so (unfortunately) my wife found it.? She then DEMANDED that I take care of it. However, she did this one evening when I was in a Csikszentmihalyian Flow State and apparently I replied “Yes” several times unconcsiously.
Several days later when the water was cut off, she called and was IRATE (stage 3 for those who are counting). I quickly deployed a check (sometimes referred to as a “hotfix”) and the situation was resolved before stage 4 (LEAVE).
Software users are remarkably similar. They may have EXPECTATIONS of your product or service that you have no intention of including. They will then likely make DEMANDS that such functionality be included. (Note: These demands usually start somehwat quietly and escalate. Informal study shows that wives may jump from stage tow to three faster. I have only anecdotal evidence and do not wish to explore further.)
Users, on the other hand, seem to jump from stage 3 IRATE to stage 4 LEAVE, much quicker than wives (although divorce attorneys are making this quicker and quicker).
To summarize, if you want to make your users happier, treat them as you’d treat your wife. if you want to make your wife happier treat her like a software user. (hmm – something about that doesn’t sound right…)
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