cabecero distintiva 3D

Technological Business Focused on People

2009-01-20 | Articles

New Technology Condition:

no keyboard present

“Windows Error 005606: keyboard error or no keiboard present, press F1 to continue”

It is ironical that one may need to know very little about computers to smile with similar jokes.

Nowadays, very few tasks are performed without a computer system. On the other hand, we pay a high price for that. Every time, companies invest more money in software, up-dates and miscellaneous applications while they put up with substantial financial loss because their employees waste a lot of time on learning them. They suffer in silence – yes, like hemorrhoids – the complex management of such infinite information technology tools necessary to carry out their daily tasks.

Employees suffer in silence the working method that machines have designed for them

These uncomplaining “humanoids” (half man, half machine) have undoubtedly not studied information systems. They do not know what usability is or programming ins and outs and they do not consider themselves with the sufficient authority to tell their bosses that the program with which they are working is difficult to use and that it should be improved or it should be replaced by another one. So, they put up with it the best they can and they adapt to the working method that machines have designed for them.

There were good reasons to do that before. It was essential to improve information processing speed or storage capacity to enhance computers usefulness. So, the aim was focused on machine speed. What is not understandable is that nothing has changed since then. Now, time is wasted by people who try to run their computers, instead of waiting for machines to end their processes.

¿How is it possible there are still so many use problems after so many years of experience developing software programs?

Software Law: If people learn how to use it, another version shall be launched

This happens mainly because the user is not the business center of attention.

The business model is to keep a tool constant “evolution” so that buying new versions or up-dating the old ones shall be necessary. And obviously, so many changes are not always justified.

This process is known as “programming obsolescence”. Once a new version is launched into the market, a next, more complete, more powerful, cuter... and “better” version is being planned.

Not even informational professionals are up-dated. We should work WITH computers instead of working FOR them

Consequently, not even informational professionals are up-dated. Exhausted, we read manual after manual and we learn again what we had already known to continue with our professional tasks: working WITH computers, instead of working FOR them.

A well-designed program makes the machine work instead of people.

This is a REAL extract of a software analysis we included a couple of weeks ago:

…press accept and the following confirmation window appears (I am displaying two dialog box screenshots of the program in question). aceptar o cancelar

And I write on the report:

This amazing habit (inherited from the rest of the computer programs) of having to confirm the computer any action, independently of its relevance, it still keeps me astonished.

If I press “Accept”, what do I really want to do? I will repeat it again:


So, I press “accept”.

As we can observe, I may press "cancel", which logically means I really "Accept", don't I?
Then, there is no doubt. ¿…or is there?

This example is not an exception. The informatics world is RIDDLED WITH nonsensical discussions with our interfaces which are similar to this example.

We dragged a file to the recycle bin and my operative system asks me once again if I really want to do what I have just done, that is, if I am sure I want to remove what I have just moved into the damn bin.

¿Why is my text processor useful for almost everything but to write in a simple way?

And we hallucinate when a clip appears on the screen because we must be very stupid not to understand the thousands of such interesting functions which make my text processor such a marvelous multifunctional program which is useful for almost everything but to write in a simple way.

The program may find difficult to humbly recognize that there are not many functions necessary to write a document and so, it may need to reveal that it can do a lot of other things.

The key is to change the processes instead of the technology

Programs are bad because we confuse functionality with functioning

Software programs are bad because they focus on utilities, instead of PEOPLE who are to use them.

Many times, this is the reason why developments take longer and programmers have to do their work once again. Because it was taken for granted that it would suffice if it worked and nobody asked how it worked.

And that is the reason why innovations are only introduced to the market when problems are solved without creating others in the process. Technological progress pace is dramatic, but it is only known when it is really publicly FUNCTIONAL and NOT when it simply works.

Blogs are the closest example: Technology is not new but it had to be comprehensible to the rest of the people, who were not very much in touch with the informational world. So that they would bring back the favor posting and sharing their knowledge in other areas.

Jacob Nielsen (well-known usability guru) said:

“The present is a unique period of human history in the sense that it is the first time that mankind has lost its tool domain”

And I say:

We shall require our suppliers to stop demanding us to have to understand their poor tools

As the software creation process is out of control and the high technology industry seems not to care at all, we users shall react and demand our suppliers to stop pretending us to get to know their deficient tools. On the contrary, they should start thinking a little more about their customers.