July 8, 2018
Non-Optimal Incapable of Efficiency
One of the major problems with technology today, especially computers, or systems containing computers, where interaction with the computers, through software, sensors or hardware, is not intuitive and/or easy.
As a society, we really have taken a lot of these non-ideal usability issues, and through years of use and training, have come to accept them as normal. Doing this causes us to now think about these practices in our mind as the places to start, and in so doing, we accept the non-ideal and think in terms of this non-ideal as the way to proceed to solve problems by using computers.
If we have an idea of what we need to work on, and we go and sit in front of the computer, and start keeping track of the things we need to do, we quickly find that the number of steps and complexity to set ourselves up to solve problems is very difficult. Much of the problem is our acceptance that computers are difficult, so the methods to use them are also difficult. If we separate ourselves from any bias and keep inventory from a base state of all the things we need to do to solve our problems, we quickly see that things aren’t easy. In fact, for many of the more difficult things, we don’t even try to do things that are to complex, but we are so used to this way of thinking, that we don’t realize we have ‘dumbed down’ many of the tasks we use the computer for.
Now, there are signs of improvement here, and there are pieces of software that make certain things easier, with some support being very good, such as email, calendars, creating documents, etc… However, the real problems are when we need to solve something far more complex. And at that point, it becomes obvious, if you try to use the computer, knowing it has the capabilities to do what you need it to, but that to use those capabilities, there is extensive work that needs to be done.
Recently, new devices, like the Google Home, Alexa, etc… have added a new usability that we haven’t had before, with accessibility and ease of use for everyone in the household to use.