Sherlock uses usability to find the right password

Dear Kalle,

Since you are the biggest Sherlock buff (was going to write “I know” but I think “Period.” might also be possible) you’ve probably seen the episode “The Hounds of Baskerville” from season 2 a million times so I don’t have to put spoiler tags on anything I write from here on.

As you might recall, in one scene, Sherlock is trying to access a military officer’s computer by figuring out the password. I could quote you what happens, but instead here is a link to refresh your memory:

Anyways, while watching the scene it struck me that what Sherlock is doing – sitting down at a USER’s desk, looking for clues to the password in the immidiate enviroment, trying to form a persona of the officer to figure out how he thinks – are perfect examples of a usability methology called field studies – actually visiting end users on site to find out how they use the product. Of course, this is obviously easier when the user is present, but Sherlock is obviously beyond that and does an observation of the user WITHOUT THE USER PRESENT!

Holy level 6 frigging usability maturity, Batman!

Conclusion: Sherlock is a great usability expert, and we should both remember to do field studies more often, even though we seem to end up working with applications and services distributed over the web, so it will take active effort on our part to make it happen. But hey, the higher the fruit – the sweeter the juice!



PS. Fantastic show by the way! Only seen two random episodes of season 2 but I have to go back and watch the rest.


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