I'm reading The Inmates are Running the Asylum, 1998, by Alan Cooper. And I get a lot out of it.
In chapter 9 there is a section, The Elastic User. It is about when developers/designers make design choices where they expect the user to adapt / fit in with any design choice they make, but assuming wrongly that the user does fit in.
In particular it is about, for the same piece of software, having very different designs for various parts of the software, and assuming that one given user can fit all of these. Cooper writes as below:
Programmers have written countless programs for this mythical elastic consumer, but he simply doesn't exist. When the programmer finds it convenient to dump the user into the Windows file system to find the information she needs, he defines the elastic user as an accommodating, computer literate power user. other times, when the programmer finds it convenient to step the user through a difficult process with a mindless wizard, he defines the elastic user as an obliging, naive, first-time user. Designing for the elastic user gives the developer license to code as he pleases while paying lip service to "the user". Real users are not elastic.
I would like a real life example of this. Perhaps some Windows functionality, or: Adobe, Word, network manager, etc.
Can anyone think of such an example.