Sunday, November 11, 2012

Where Tech Is Missing The Mark

After reading this bit about "ITization"  (linked by the ever insightful @servicesphere: I began to wonder: why does anyone need to become more versed in IT? It seems that computing tech is the one product category that can't figure out its a commodity and as a result hasten to the lowest common denominator. Instead it seems to enjoy staying as complex and convoluted as possible to require specialists with powers of wizardry to work.

Consumers, I think we can all agree, are generally not specialists. A consumer does not care what makes a product work or how a product produces the results the operator is expecting. Normally we want push button, get result. A consumer knows what end result they want but how a product gets that result is unnecessary trouble.

And yet computing technology denies the consumer that simplicity. Oh, sure. Apple has made some good headway on this but you still need to know obscure things like SSID, PSK, service pack, OS versions, etc. For those of us working in the tech sector these are simple things but not for the consumer. Why isn't it simpler yet?

The most common question I get is, "what kind of smartphone should I get?" For the less technically savvy person my answer was often iPhone. Lately I've begun to answer, "whatever you like," as ease of use and interoperability become less of an issue (iTunes aside). But, fact is, I do not like this answer. I know that there are countless other factors that ought to be considered. I wish I could answer as confidently as the auto mechanic who says "I recommend the <car brand name>, <model name>. They're well-built and I've had few problems with them."

Technology needs to aspire to simplicity. It needs to progress from the domain of wizards to the compact sedans of the masses. Put gas in here, push this lever to go, this lever to stop, turn this to steer. We've come a long way. Now I call on all IT-types to get out of the way and let tech become simple.