Useful, Easy, Pleasing, Supportive

To serve users better, technology should be useful, easy, pleasing, and supportive. What does that mean?

Useful (Functionality)

The most obvious way for tech to serve users better is by doing things that have real value to them, serving their overall best interests. Tech can easily fail to do this, often by being designed without real understanding of what users want and need, and sometimes by aiming to be addictive or manipulative.

Easy (Usability)

Tech that is easy to use serves users better by triggering feelings of competence, control, and satisfaction, and letting them spend more of their time and energy effectively performing activities they care about, and less on frustrating, confidence-undermining, and time-consuming troubleshooting.

Pleasing (User Experience / UX)

Tech that offers a pleasing user experience serves users better by facilitating positive emotions when they use it.

Supportive of Well-Being (Positive Computing)

Tech can actively support aspects of well-being such as positive emotions, motivation and engagement, self-awareness, mindfulness, resilience, gratitude, empathy, compassion, and altruism.

The emerging field of expertise around designing technology to actively support well-being is known as positive computing.

Like humans who offer psychological support, such as psychotherapists and coaches, tech that offers psychological support must earn a high level of trust, especially regarding privacy, security, and intended psychological effects.

An important way to earn and deserve trust is to give the community of users the right to verify, and even change, what tech actually does. Free / libre / open source software (FLOSS) does this, making it well suited to positive computing.