Many people assume that product designers and engineers can easily understand how to use many products. I think this is good and bad. Why bad? Because if we understand everything easily, it is difficult for us to see what many other non-technical people feel when they use not-so-easy-to-use products. Ideally, products should be understood intuitively with a help of common knowledge. Common knowledge is often referred to as familiarity, e.g., green means go, a right-pointing triangle means play, and so on. However, many engineers forget what is familiar to many people, and design products with tricky functions.
Today I used my BlackBerry to use a telephone service, and it went “…press the pound key”. Guess what happened. I took some time to find the pound key. I looked for “#” key near “0” key, which is familiar to many people. But in fact, the # key is located at top left on the BlackBerry keyboard. It is good to see a non-technical-people side of me!?