Have you hit technology overload (yet)?

March 5, 2009

I recently sat through a meeting in which the presenters needed a little help setting up for the presentation. You see, the presentation was not only comprised of computer-based slides, but also a few video clips as well. What was the difficulty? Understanding how to make it all work together… especially getting the audio to come through the speakers.

Now, I realize I’m different than many presenters. I have an extensive background in multimedia. I was glad to help the presenters, but afterward, when they thanked me profusely, I began questioning if I had really done so much — if I was really “specially” helpful — or if some basic technologies are just really (still) not understood.

Though the VCR is nearly dead, remember the old semi-humorous question, “Can you set your VCR clock?” or the variant, “Can you program your VCR?” Read the rest of this entry »

Fancy interfaces still aren’t enough

December 15, 2008

With all the fancy new touch-interfaces being introduced these days, I’ve noticed that many still require users to understand the system the interface is running in. In other words, while touch interfaces are billed as more “human” and “organic,” the user must still learn how to use them. To me, that’s not organic enough. Existing Personal Computer interfaces are why I felt I had to write The Ultimate PC Primer. A new “touch” interface that requires explanation and training, especially those that are simply touch interfaces to traditional software menus, don’t provide much improvement. An intuitive and organic interface is one that allows the human to be human, not to have to understand how to interact like a machine.

Think about an MP3 player. It doesn’t matter how neat the menu system is. That’s not the point of the device. I don’t want an MP3 player with nifty menus; I just want to listen to music. Read the rest of this entry »