How About Some Fucking Whimsy?

The original front-door to MLKSHK when we were in pre-launch mode. You had to click and drag-out a circle to get inside. The error page you see is also a joke because we use Nginx.

Two years ago I wrote a post with the subtitle “Complain about the way other people make software by making software.” It was then quoted in a book by Austin Kleon and every once in a while someone reaches out to me to tell me they liked the quote. The post was about empathy, making things, and thinking about the people who make things for you to use; but that subtitle is about making things work the way you think they should work because it’s a way to share your point of view.

I am not into tricks to get users like faking engagement or sucking names out of your contact list. I hear this is a really good way to get lots of users. I am sure investors love stuff like this and high-five your bro-hand in pitch meetings when you bring up shit like this.

Related to those tricks are dark patterns where developers purposely make things confusing or challenging for users so they can bill one more month or hope the user doesn’t notice they’ve sent out a few thousand friend requests to their landlord, mother, and people who bought a stereo off of them six years ago.

I believe people who do these things can go jump in a lake.

The only only only thing I think about when building things for people is creating delight. That is all. My job is to create a place that delights people. Whether I am making a bank or a chat room or a place to pay a DMV fee, my site’s #1 job is to delight the user.

This might include doing things like Willy Wonka-style buttons to get into secret areas, but it also includes creating clear, lighted paths, free of dark patterns and privacy shenanigans. It means giving your users stuff that feels good to use. It means giving your users nothing to think about.

Delight also means people don’t feel threatened by other users and the creators of the site are available as often as possible to help clear things up and keep an eye on problems. Delight means making your site fast, secure, and responsive to their needs and browsers.

Shit needs to work! Delight means testing your code like an adult rather than moving fast and breaking things like an energetic, baby hippo. Baby hippos are cute but you don’t want one holding your credit card is what I am saying.

So yeah, make delightful things. Be good to your users. (Refer to your users as users because that’s what they do, they use the stuff you make!) User is such a great word. I love to use it.

These are the things I believe and this is how I build things. Thanks for listening.

—Andre “Pretty Fucking Delightful” Torrez

This actually started as a blog post for the weblog at work. It ended up having too many swear words and veered off into non-work related thoughts so I figured it should live over here. My job right now is giving people the freedom to keep their focus on making delightful stuff. We’re called Tugboat Yards and we’re taking the hassle out of taking online payments and managing the relationship with your users. We also have some news next week that I can’t wait to share!Amber joined us at Tugboat!

posted on September 25