Dec 15, 2008

The problem with digital

The problem: as gadgets get smarter, they also become more difficult to use. Just look at your remote control and try to figure out your television menu.

In analog devices, we used to have buttons and dials that you can touch and feel. If you wanted to change contrast, you just had to rotate the dial. Feedback was tactile and instantaneous. Today, to do the same thing on our LG television set, we have to navigate a series of dropdown menus.

Standing between the gadget and the human is the user interface. Since more and more appliances are being implanted with microchips, the design of the user interface is transferred by default to computer programmers who know very little about user experience.

This really needs to change. The gadgets that are easiest to use will hopefully win out in the end.

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