We are similar in some ways and dissimilar in others. Even where we share characteristics, I will see things differently to you. Your take on reality is not the same as the next person. And they don’t look at things in the way we do either. I was reminded of this while reading an article in the paper at the weekend:

“In language,” [the interviewee] says, “you think that a word is a thing. When you say stone, it’s a stone, but when you know that it’s piedra in Spanish, it means that language is not linked absolutely to reality.” It was a lesson in life: consider the alternative.

To the average monoglot, in this view, there probably is no alternative: the label and the object are intrinsically linked. To the average polyglot, there’s a level of abstraction away from the object that gives some insight into commonalities and differences across the various frames of reference.

You and your users see the same software. They probably experience it at a single level, as a tool. You probably experience it at multiple levels. How does this inform your view of their view? Of their possible views?

Ground truth is a concept which also partitions views (in one of the interpretations of the term, naturally). It is the idea that the people in a given situation have a take on that situation (the reality) that differs from others outside of it (an assertion of the reality).

You and your users see the same software. How well does their reality match your assertion of it? Do you know what their ground truth is? If you’ve got more than one user, do you know what their ground truths are?
Image: http://thechucklebrothersontour.co.uk