Reminder: you are not your audience

I recently read this WSJ article about how teenagers use technology.

My takeaway – a reminder that each of our life experiences inform our responses and actions when faced with something new.

I recalled previous conversations with family about the content of social media posts effecting employment screenings.  For a person in their 60s, life mostly preceded the internet; so, social media is something “new” to be viewed with suspicion.

A teen/preteen today does not remember a world prior to social media. The article indicates teens are editing their app choice and content for the audience and level of permanence desired.  A younger person brings less baggage about how things work, or “should be”.

We are all susceptible to thinking that our life experiences are “right” – it’s just how we are wired:

  • We apply patterns that have worked in the past to new situations, to avoid energy consumptive brain usage.  See System 1, 2 Thinking
  • “The Results pyramid” is a good model for human behavior in general (I couldn’t find any formal studies)Results Pyramid









With the pace of technological change, we must design for users with a range of very different life experiences and therefore expectations of tools; most or all may be different than our own.

What do you do to keep your own personal biases in check? … to identify mental models in your audience?


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