Thursday, 17 January 2008

Technology usability

I've got a great mobile phone, the Nokia E65. Nice size, good functionality and loads of additional applications I've installed. However, it's slower than my last handset, runs out of memory & sometimes restarts itself (issues not unique to this handset). Ah I hear you say, that's because I've installed additional applications on it. But that's the whole point of the S60 operating system, being able to personalise your smartphone and improve its functionality. If Nokia is going to offer this functionality then they should ensure the handset works properly with it. If there are gremlins in the additional applications these should be isolated to prevent them affecting the performance of the handset. I've highlighted a Nokia product here but this type of problem is common across a whole range of consumer devices - when did your PC last crash?

Why is it that we're surrounded by so much excellent technology but its usability is often so poor? Why do so many devices not work out of the box without significant configuration? Why are so many devices slow and prone to crash? I'm a real technophile and love using new technology but it frustrates the hell out of me. What's it like for the 'average' consumer? A nightmare - judging by the questions I get asked. Most manufacturers seem to have had a usability bypass! Do they ever test their products from the consumer perpective?

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