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!?

October 16, 2012Permalink