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All the best Intentions

frankfont profile image Frank Font ・2 min read

Can you trust someone if they demonstrate an intent to harm you? What if they simply have goals that happen to be harmful to you?

Would you trust them? Of course not! You'd be crazy.

Definition: intention

  • noun: An aim that guides action; an objective.

Perceived intentions fundamentally impact how much a rational person can trust another person. It's in our DNA.

Trust is undermined by suspicions that people or processes are working against our own goals. On the other side, trust is supported when we feel people or processes are working toward our goals.

Perceived intentions have a huge impact in how much we trust, or don't trust, people and the things they create.

Intentions of Things

The equivalent of intention for a thing is it's purpose. For inanimate things such as simple machines, the purpose is clear. We know a ceramic mug is for hot drinks. We know the purpose of television is to waste our time.

What about software? That one is more complicated. Would you download a random program by an unknown author from the internet? Please don't, it's not a good idea.

What about software you create? Is it worth thinking about the perceived intentions of that software in the minds of your intended users? Of course it is if you want them to trust it.

Communicating Intentions

How can we ensure our intended users feel comfortable trusting that the software we build for them, and sometimes with them, will help them in their goals?

Let's talk about that next time. If you are inspired to share some thoughts on this topic, please add a comment here.

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