Monday, April 02, 2007

Tech Confusion

Lisa painting eggThis weekend was our annual Easter egg coloring down in Perrysburg, Ohio at my mom's house. This year was a bit quieter than normal as my brother and his family weren't able to make it. Ordinarily the kids add a lot of noisy excitement to the gathering. Ah well, maybe next year.

I spent a fair amount of time on Saturday working on my mom's computer setup. Most of the stuff was just about tweaking a few of her online systems (blog, website, etc) and occasionally writing out some clear instructions on one aspect or another. So, now she can use the Meebo chat tool with her blog as well as incorporate a survey into one of her posts.

So, this leads to a little bit of a rant:

Why is it that we technologists have such a hard time creating tools that intelligent, but technically unsophisticated, people can use? Do we have some sort of disdain for the "unwashed masses"? Or is it more about what authors Chip and Dan Heath refer to in their book Made to Stick as the "Curse of Knowledge" (i.e., those who have knowledge can't remember what it was like not to have it and so assume everyone can see the situation just as clearly as they)?

Come on techies (and I include myself in this list)! We need to take that extra hour or so to provide a few simple, concrete examples of how to use these beautiful tools that we build. Make them clear. Make them obvious.

Because technology without users is just so much wasted space.

So, what was the last techie widget that left you frustrated?

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