Everyone is Their Own Personal UX Guru

“I will always choose a lazy person to do a difficult job because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”

This quote is often attributed to Bill Gates, but given the magnitude of his achievements it’s hard to imagine him using it as a guiding philosophy. Something being difficult to imagine doesn’t make it false, of course, but in this case the true source was Frank Bunker Gilbreth Sr., an engineer and one of the first true usability experts. And he was talking about bricklaying – a task one might reasonably think much less-nuanced than inventing programming languages.

Either way, is it true that a lazy person will find an easy solution? They might, but easiest doesn’t mean best, and lazy solutions cut corners. Lazy people are not good for business.

Given the choice, though, most people will at least look for a more efficient solution, because it’s human nature. All of us have the same innate tendency towards the path of least resistance because less work means more play. We are experts in the subject of our own personal user experience because we optimize our lives towards efficiency. That’s not lazy, it’s smart.

To design the easiest path to a goal, don’t ask how a lazy person would do it. Ask how an efficient optimizer would do it.

Categories: UX