FOIL

When I learned algebra, I was taught First Outside Inside Last as the order of operations. Today, when I type a formula into Google or a calculator, it then follows the rules to calculate the correct answer.

Meanwhile, when I hand the same formula to a human, they will usually follow the rules as best they can. Fortunately for us both, I do not need very complicated formulas. Then again sometimes I will put the wrong formula together to try and find the information I need. Other times, I will be looking for the wrong information altogether. I will have the right answer to the wrong question.

Meanwhile, when working with people, they are not nearly as predictable and analogue as the calculator. Every interaction I have with a calculator has a limited number of reactions. Other people are not nearly as simple. Every interaction and micro-interaction has several reactions per person, and in some cases, there are several potential reactions based on the time of day, week, month, season, or year.

The calculator was designed with the same limitations. The designer of the calculator knew that various people would try and interact with it in different ways. They knew that some people would follow the rules and other people would type “01134” into it, turn it upside down, and show their friends that they made the calculator say “hEll0.”

I need to also design my interactions to be good, better, and the best for most people, most of the time. So whether I have someone trying to run a complex formula using the ‘Manning Interface Guidelines’ or someone who is trying to type “hEll0” I still provide the best experience in the interactions and micro-interactions I have.

When I am initiating an interaction, I need to make sure I am designing the interaction to be the best for the person I am interacting with. Present them with a genuine and positive interaction to give them the best opportunity for the best and most positive reaction.

How are you when someone interacts with you? Do you react well when someone tries to type “hEll0?” Do you try to set up other people to have the most opportunity for a positive reaction? Do you go into interactions looking for good ways to improve the best for others before it is good for you?

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