On saying God Damn Clippy like a Japanese user might

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2015/07/23 08:31 +00:00, original URI: http://www.siao2.com/2015/07/23/8770668856267196788.aspx


The Japanese Office Assistant Kairu the Dolphin:

If you don't know Japanese, the question/answer box has a question of "What are you looking for?" and a typed answer of "How to get rid of you". Kinda says it all. You can find gems like this all over the Internet just by Googling Kairu the  dolphin.

It solves the same problem as I described years ago in my blog post She typed in 'God Damn Clippy'

In both cases, the advanced features of user assistance and user education are powered by an advanced technology known best as

Realizing when we have annoyed the hell out of the user and making sure to give him or her options to either change it or turn it off entirely

No idea whether the methodology was patented, but if not then it should have been because it was an entirely brilliant way to help the user, more than almost any other feature ever produced. A way to detect that we are annoying a customer and offering real solutions on how to stop doing it is pretty close to top of the line delighting the customer. In fact the only way to improve upon it would be to:

• apologize to the user, and

• reverse the order so that removing came before changing the character of the Office Assistant.

Of course the deeper problem being batted around now is the charge that it simply ignored the fact that it was more annoying and offensive to women than men and that they didn't pay attention to feedback that it was happening. Hell, the fact that they didn't dig deeper on the issue in the first place is an entirely reasonable idea to suggest.

The article in The Atlantic kind of explains what its coverage was intended to summarize:

What made Clippy, the Microsoft Office Assistant, so detestable?

They basically showed the gender biased process flaws in Microsoft's attempts to delight the Office 97 first time user by creating something that annoys the user every other time and maybe even that first time too.

Kind of a misogynistic thing, almost. Except not exactly. It's more like an ignorant version of misogyny. In a sense, it recognizes that for some quite substantive reasons (including many of the inappropriate character 'gestures'), it is a feature more likely to annoy women than men.

They should have never traded trying to delight the initial user over trying to not annoy the crap out of the user after the theoretical initial delight.

Especially given how doubleplusundelighted people ended up feeling.


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