… what the designers and engineers see as “pain points” aren’t necessarily that painful for people. The term satisficing, coined by Herbert Simon in 1956 (combining satisfy and suffice), refers to people’s tolerance — if not overall embracing — of “good enough” solutions…
Frankly, I discover satisficing in every research project: the unfiled MP3s sitting on the desktop, ill-fitting food container lids, and tangled, too-short cables connecting products are all “good enough” examples of satisficing. In other words, people find the pain of the problem to be less annoying than the effort to solve it.
I’m about a third of the way into Steve Portigal’s Interviewing Users but this bit rings especially true.
So much of the buzz around “smart cities” seems to focus on subtle optimisations and efficiencies – catching a bus a couple of minutes sooner, or turning the thermostat down a degree or two. Big data focused on small problems.
But wouldn’t the world be boring if everything was uniformly perfect? Maybe the capacity to work around life’s little frustrations is in itself a form of empowerment.
What if – for a while – we left alone all the stuff that’s good enough, and focused on delivering services that support people in making big decisions and enduring differences?