Creating Simple User ExperiencesVootie (1485 pencils) | Sun, 2010-10-17 16:06
Excerpted from Simple and Usable Web, Mobile, and Interaction Design (New Riders)
By Giles Colborne
A Story about Simplicity
The first printer I bought was a fussy device. Setting it up involved fitting together several parts and going on an extra trip into town because the correct cable wasn’t included. When I returned, I had to read my computer’s manual to check some hardware settings, open up the printer case, and use a paperclip to set some switches to match. After a few tries I got it right. Then I had to install driver software onto the computer. The whole process took hours of mistakes, cursing, and painstaking work.
The same could be said of any number of encounters with technology over the years: setting up a mobile phone, plugging a laptop into a plasma display, or reading a webpage that takes three screens and 113 links to tell me the weather. Technology that is supposed to make our lives easier often feels like it’s on the march against us.
This year I bought a new printer for my home. The setup process was: take it out of the box, remove the orange sticky tape that was holding the delicate parts in place, pop in the cartridge, and switch it on. At which point the printer informed me that it would like to join my WiFi network and could it have a password, please? And that was it. The printer and my computer got along just fine. Setting up a new printer seemed as simple as plugging in a new radio.
It left me thinking: why can’t it always be like this?
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