Friday, January 05, 2007

Do people need the gizmos we're selling?

On simplicity in design at Philips by their CEO, Paul Zeven ...

"During a recent three-day period, I was exposed to a new robotic vacuum cleaner, a new high-definition version of TiVo, a device to stream movies from a PC to a television, new game consoles, new MP3 players and, yes, even a belt buckle that plays videos.

I can't help but wonder if consumers really want all this. Have we gone too far? Are we in step with the needs of today's American consumer?

On the one hand, few consumers want to be left behind with yesterday's technology. On the other hand, the consumer electronics industry may be moving so fast and jamming so many new features into devices that we are making the experience too complex.

I would bet the average reader of this article has at least one electronic device--a cell phone, home stereo, television, programmable thermostat--with a button or feature that he has no idea how to work or no clue what it does. I am no different. While I work in the electronics industry, I also share the same frustration with complexity as everyone else.

To me, simplicity is imperative, not just because products have become more complex over the years, but also because every aspect of our lives continues to get more complex. Today, the majority of American families extend beyond a single household and our jobs increasingly invade our private time as we juggle family schedules and responsibilities while answering e-mail on mobile devices.

Rather than simplifying our daily routines, most technology has actually made our lives more complex."    (Continued via cnet)    [Usability Resources]

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