Understanding COWS levels
The lowest in priority but higher in emotional score level in COWS ranking is Cool, given that in an agile environment of continuous improvement there is no level of great or perfect.
Every product is in a constant loop with a purpose to stay Cool for a longer time in a given timeframe.
“In an ideal great product the column of Cool elements is filled and the rest of the columns in the COWS framework are empty. We presume that an ideal product is the Milky Way galaxy.”
The highest in priority level and lowest in emotional score level in the COWS ranking is Shit, which consequently designates that an action must be taken to resolve the issue.
As in the real world where a pile of Shit produces greater problems for the health, in the same way in a product a pile of Shit features and implementations produce an unhealthy product. The Shit issues in the COWS board that being resolved are moved to the Cool column.
Cool is the state of happiness. It’s the purpose, the utopia, the Shangri-La. Reminder that Cool should also be noted and tracked in order to know what works best for the end users.
The Omg rank is related to surprise. For every part, you feel little or more surprised if its purpose, conception, functionality and stumble on it unawares — then it’s definitely an Omg thing. The Omg issues are prone to become Wtf cases and sometimes can become really Cool entities — so they need special care and nurture.
The What the F*ck! ranking relates directly to the Anger we feel when something definitely doesn’t function the way we want or meant to work. These cases can be for example crashes, bugs, UX deadlocks, misleading copyright, failed or non-compliant with accessibility guidelines elements.
These negative factors have the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. A user that is in the Wtf state will try to reflect the negative pressure by closing, leaving, exiting the situation by any means.
In the best case scenario, the user will try a nethermost solution (e.g. a refresh in a page that is unresponsive) or fill a complaint.
Worst case scenario but most often is to feel distrust for the service and never come back, which inevitably will class this part or the whole product in the pile of Shit.