Jakob Nielsen said “Most people are stupid.”

Last night, Capital One hosted an event at their new San Francisco labs. It was a packed house, with food and drink, discussion, networking, and two presentations. Catherine Courage gave – as always – an exciting and encouraging talk on storytelling. Jakob Nielsen talked about, I guess, testing, though he used the phrase “user research” extensively.

Anyway, during the Q&A, Nielsen said “Most people are stupid.” He didn’t misspeak, he said this and he meant it. In his example, if you tested a product with someone who knew the product, they would have a certain performance. If you got someone in off the street “…he would be stupid. [pause, chuckle] Most people are stupid.”

I posted about this on Twitter and got reactions from surprise to an utter lack of surprise, given the source. I don’t know about that. I do think that if you think people are stupid, you shouldn’t be working in user experience and you shouldn’t be given a platform to hold forth. Please don’t invite Jakob Nielsen to speak at your event. This is toxicity we don’t need.


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