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Proles and Technology

created 2004-04-22 09:27:42

(Up to: Technology Vs Evolution )

On the bus this morning, I happened to overhear a couple of ladies discussing some kind of "skills" leaflet, that apparently offered lessons in Dreamweaver. As they continued on to decide if that was teaching people how to make ancient Native Indian nightmare-avoidance device, or whether that particular object was, in fact, a "dreamcatcher", I managed to get the distinct impression that really, they didn't particularly care either.

But it made me realise that there are levels of society that perhaps "should" use technology, but have absolutely no desire to. This gives rise to 2 points:

  1. It may be safe to assume that some people will only use technology when it solves a particular need. They may use it more for other things after that, but until such a need arises, there are some that really don't feel the need for new technology. And, indeed, why should they? I don't have a car, after all.
  2. When they do want to use it, it should make sense. How many current systems require some training and/or make little sense? By this, I mean that not even an Operating System is a necessity - start to think as though a mouse pointer is "too complicated". Make it so simple, a duck could use it.

This isn't, of course, to say that technology shouldn't therefore cater for more advanced users, as it does at the moment (see Functionally-Focused Interfaces), but that the most common things to be accomplished through technology should be like reading a book, or turning the television on.

Furthermore, this also shifts burdens. As developers, it's our job to make sure that operating systems are inherently secure. (Hmm, perhaps I'm beginning to think that DRM is A Good Thing for some users... different matter though.) Even as web designers, we can produce sites that make use so simple it hurts. Why, for example, have extraneous graphics, when big text will do? You don't see many flashy graphics on television remote controls, or kettles. Why have a hundred different options (or "links" in html-speak) on the first page you get to? Could a website be thought of as like an automated telephone system?

I'm not sure we're taking this KISS thing far enough.

Magpies And Lego Bricks is another cry for simplicity, based on the new wave of tools coming out.

(See also: Functionally Focused Interfaces Exploring An IDScheme On Bul BAnd Visual Forums Humans Don TCast Information New Technology On Line Vs Off Line Architecture As AControl Device )

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