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[Discuss] Its not possible to make things easier for users

On 01/13/2013 12:52 PM, Rich Pieri wrote:
> On Sat, 12 Jan 2013 14:55:26 -0500
> Mark Woodward <markw at> wrote:
>> Problems with computers are mostly over at this point. It isn't about
>> computers at all. It is about the tasks the users want to accomplish.
>> You can't make them easier without changing the nature of the task.
> I recently wrote, in another thread, that consumers don't want choice.
> They don't want to have to make choices. They don't want to have to
> make decisions. They just want it -- whatever "it" happens to be -- to
> work without them having to think about it.

Well, that is a paradox for sure. If you've ever dealt with "users," you 
know that they don't even know what they want.

I have a story from early in my career. I was a young tech, and the vp 
of engineering wanted to give all the engineers a serial connection to 
their computers so that they could dial out and connect to BBS systems 
like compuserve for reference. Like we all do today with the internet.

The total spec was "I just want to dial out from my computer."

I did a *LOT* of research, I did a lot of testing. I found an add-on 
board for our phone system that would allow an RS-232 connection to 
every computer. The phone system would manage the dial-up and allocation 
of phone lines. It was easy to expand simultaneous connections, just add 
phone lines. At the time it is was, I believe, a pretty good solution to 
the stated goals.

We did a small trial and role-out. It was well received by the testers. 
We ended up buying the system.

The vp of engineering was excited, I wired him up. Started his BBS app, 
and couldn't connect. The serial system wasn't Hayes compatible. I got a 
shit storm because it wasn't hayes compatible. The fact that I pointed 
out that he never said that was a requirement didn't change anything.

User's don't know what they want and really don't understand what they 
need. Having something "just work" is impossible unless the entire world 
and every technology in it is forced to work as a single unit.

Music trans-coding has issues. size vs quality legitimate user choice. 
Interoperability is also important not all music players play the same 
> Joe Consumer doesn't care about the relative merits of various audio
> formats and compression ratios. He just wants to play his music on his
> generic-just-like-his-neighbor's shiny thing. You can make it easier
> for Joe: remove choices.

The problem with "Joe Consumer" is that you are right, they don't know 
or care about "it" as long as it works, but they get bent out of shape 
when it doesn't.

A legitimate "default" set of settings for music, video, etc. *always* 
has exceptions because of the nature of the task.
> As Jerry pointed out, FOSS offers a multitude of choices while Windows
> offers just a few. Apple offers just one which is really no choice at
> all. Which of these is at the top of the market share pig-pile?
> o/~ Freedom of choice
>      Is what you've got
>      Freedom from choice
>      Is what you want
> Give Joe Consumer a one size fits all appliance and he'll be happy


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