Is technology still too complex?

My biggest gripe about technology is that it is still too hard for non-techies. I feel so bad for non-technical people in this day and age. I can’t tell you how many relatives or friends complain about a problem with their PC that is bugging the hell out of them. I go in and find out it is a simple problem and I  fix it in 30 seconds. Meanwhile they have lost hours of productivity.

When my father first starting using a PC, he was always pretty frustrated with it. He would ask me, “Does anybody test this $#it? All of this stuff is designed by techie engineers like you and nobody asks people like me to test it before they sell it.” He hit the nail on the head. Any piece of technology aimed at mainstream consumers should be able to pass the “grandma” test. It means if your grandma can’t pick up whatever gadget you have designed and start using most of the functionality of it, you fail. The iPhone is one of the first devices ever to come close to passing this test, hence its wild success.

That is why everything is shifting towards cloud computing and thin-client type devices. That’s why Google is big on Android and Apple is big on iOS. In the future, you will probably not use a regular PC/Mac anymore. Short of a radical shift in strategy, Microsoft is toast. They have been sliding downhill ever since Ballmer took over. It is really a shame because I like Microsoft, but they got arrogant and thought no one could challenge them.

So what do you think? Should all mainstream consumer gadgets pass the “grandma test” or should people become more tech savvy and just deal with the complexity?

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One Response to “Is technology still too complex?”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Allison, davidcaren. davidcaren said: New blog post: Is technology still too complex? [...]

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