OWP News

The Monster Behind the Tech

Filed under Helpful Information by on 5/19/2012

Technology is great, but when it gets in the way it can be a pain. When I see technology that is there to "just be there" or its retrofitted into something it wasn't originally meant for it makes me wonder. The tech we use must not turn into a monster and destroy usability.

For example, the other day I saw a TV commercial for a car. This commercial went on to tell me that my automobile has too many buttons, and that I would be better off having a car with a tablet style interface. At first I thought it was a neat idea, but then I considered it some more. Do I really want to navigate a menu system on a touch screen interface to crank the tunes, instead of simply hitting the "volume up" button? In a familiar car, buttons can usually be accessed without taking your eyes off the road. Is it too far to say this is a crazy idea without even first trying it? I miss my cell phone that had buttons that I could dial without even looking at it.

Companies that pioneer these new ideas tend to sell the technology, and not the "why" and "how." A good example of this is the bank that offers check depositing by taking a picture of it. The commercial they air shows a woman snapping a picture and smiling. It’s a great idea and service, but they neglect to depict or mention the fact that you have to take two pictures, one of the front and back, and then send the check to them. It doesn’t sound like too much extra, but over simplifying a new product is common. A new technology should be thoroughly researched before adopting.

The technology behind web development is in constant motion. While it is important to keep up with new tech, it is equally important to keep focus on usability and the user experience. If you find yourself working extra to use a new piece of tech, there is a chance it will turn into a monster as well.


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