Surrounded by tools #6

I think a lot about the people-technology relationship. In the last month mostly about the people whose jobs become even more depended on digital products and for which they become the main working tool. For some it’s word processors or calculation tools, for some it’s for digital content creation, for others it the interface of their new and now digital register.

IMHO, the biggest challenge in area of digital tools is finding the right balance within more and more capable systems, reducing their complexity and learnability part on the human side. User experience is not a one time thing. It is about the whole process of setting up the tool to getting the right information for the learning process until comfort and clarity arrive after you spend some time with the product or even a whole ecosystem.

People at work don’t choose their tools: some are becoming industry standards or the company has more specific tools that are changing over time, forcing people to adapt and learn for keeping their jobs. So, what is the digital onboarding process in this kind of area? Where and how do people learn (together or individual)? Why should programs be standardized to an average user instead of adapting itself to the needs and strengths of the individual? Technology should fit its users, not the other way around!

If fully individualized products can not be developed, they have to be at least as basic, clean and easy to use as much as possible!

Learning about technology from my grandma

2 years ago, I gave my grandma an iPad and gave her a short overview of how to use the internet. It is the first computational device she had in her hands but seeing her touching the screen and how intuitive it was for her was an inspiring moment. Sadly, the experiment failed later on because of some intrusive pop-ups. They confused here and decided not to use it anymore. If I had shown up earlier to support her maybe she would be still using it today. And that is why the learning experience matters a lot!

Now she has IPTV with access to some media libraries to rerun some of her favorite shows. Let me rephrase that: I have access to the media library because she is not able to handle the complexity of all the sub-menus, typing and the odd navigation process with the remote. And I can’t blame her, this software definitely needs a lot of simplification! Every time when I see something like this I have to ask myself: who is building those interfaces and for which people are they testing such products? Obviously, my grandma is not in their target group. But I think she should be! I mean, who else still watches TV with regular, linear time schedules?

And this is commit #6

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