The (online) Animal Farm: everyday users are not sheep, nor dogs, but cats

Article written by Claudiu Murariu

Simon’s Cat episodes are great analogy for how online business owners want users to do a certain thing while users simply have a different agenda.

While I love George Orwell, let’s get something straight: users are not animals.

They are, just like you and me, complex human beings with complex needs. However, in understanding user behavior, animal analogies do help.

I know that cats seem to take over the web (they are all over youtube ), but there are at least a couple of online experts (them and them) that believe that we have a lot to learn from cat behavior for when it comes to online visitors behavior.

Why cats and not dogs, sheep or mice?

Because cats only care about their own good. They can’t be told what to do, they don’t care about their owners troubles or success. They just care about getting what interests them: love and food. Stop giving them what they are after, and they’ll leave. Sounds familiar?

Most of the online business owners I know treat their visitors like sheep. For them visitors are just herds of individuals without personality who all behave almost the same.

I’ve also met business owners who treat users as dogs. They believe that everything they do is just going to be loved by their visitors. If by any chance such a business owner gets to see a visitor surfing their website they almost get mad at the visitor if he doesn’t click the links or buttons he is expected to.

Once in a while I also meet those business owners who treats visitors as little mice without importance. These business owners either don’t have web analytics tools in place either they just log in to only check the number of visitors. They think of their online business as being so great that it is of no importance what the visitors are doing on the website.

What can we learn from cats behavior?

This video tells it very well:

This doesn’t mean that every time you find a lost user somewhere on the web, you need to adopt him… But love him just as you would love your cat.

The (online) Animal Farm: everyday users are not sheep, nor dogs, but cats by

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  • Roy Simmons

    Very good analogy! (must feed the cat)