Likable software

Alan Cooper has said: “If we want users to like our software, we should design it to behave like a likable person.” Indeed! But what makes a likable person? Let’s explore 3 common traits of likable people and see how they could be applied to user experience design.

Positive attitude

Likable people tend to have a positive attitude, especially when things are not going so well. Positive people know most setbacks can be explained with external causes and do not blame themselves.

A software can be positive, too. It can:

  • Give positive feedback – and use positive tone of voice over all
  • Prevent errors e.g. by using descriptive labels and sensible defaults
  • Help users to recover from errors with polite, informative messages that don’t blame users

Similar than us

We tend to like people who are similar than us. We are constantly seeking signs of similarity, and are attracted to people whose values, interests and experience are similar to us.

A software can be similar than us, too. It can:

  • Offer functionality that match users’ exact needs
  • Talk users’ language
  • Organize navigation and content the way users would organize them


Likable people often focus on what they can do for you – not for themselves. They are interested in you and ask how they can help you. They are flexible, emphatic and good listeners.

A software can be helpful, too. It can:

  • Fulfill users’ needs, helping users to complete their goals
  • Have an intuitive, easy to learn user interface
  • Allow different ways to do things e.g. offer easier interactions for novices and “fast-tracks” for experts.

And more!

These where just a few of many ways to make software likable. The main thing is that the better user experience your software can offer, the more it will be liked! :-)

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