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 »

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Self-Perpetuating Technology Dependency — the “black hole” effect of technology adoption

October 26, 2008

When my wife and I were expecting our first child, we attended childbirth classes together, and the instructor mentioned one tidbit of knowledge that piqued my curiosity:

The more medical intervention you have, the more at risk you are for requiring additional medical intervention.

In other words, it’s a snowball effect. The more you have, the more of the same it takes to manage it, which only requires more yet.

Many years (and children) later, I still think about that and wonder, “Do we also find this concept at play when it comes to technology?” Read the rest of this entry »