Everyday Computing, Features, Technology

Reasonable Expectations

By Dr. Lyndell St. Ville- ICT Consultant
By Dr. Lyndell St. Ville- ICT Consultant

MANY of us can be seen carrying laptops, tablets and mobile phones around with us. After all, they are very convenient and useful devices. That raises a very interesting question. How do we measure the usefulness of any technology device?

Mobile phones have long had a predictive text entry system to reduce the time spent composing text and email messages. That idea is powerful. If you try to anticipate the needs of the user, then you might design a device that makes the user feel more comfortable by predicting their needs. You might recall that before the year 2007, mobile phones were not as easy to use as they are today. The market reacted after Apple produced the much more user-friendly iPhone. Now, all phones can boast user friendly features to make life easier for their owners.

The general lesson is that things should be kept simple to use. Even complex things should be made simpler and more user-friendly.

You have probably experienced the disappointment of phoning a friend and getting a recording which prompts you to leave a voicemail message. Sometimes, you are required to re-enter the telephone number of the person, whose number was just dialled, in order to leave them a message. Have you ever considered just how daft or even ridiculous it is to phone someone, and then be requested to key-in the same number that you just tried calling? That seems like a good example of a bad example. Even unreasonable!

With the exciting new technology that mobile phones offer, it is likely that you call someone by simply choosing their name from a list of favourites. Some fancy phones even allow you to use voice-dialling technology. In other words, when you phone your friend, you may not even know the digits being dialled.

Consider what that says about our high-tech mobile phone service providers. Is it too much to expect a telecommunications provider, who may proudly boast about offering 4G service, to provide a user-friendly voicemail system? Furthermore, if a telecommunications provider is unwilling or unable to set up such a system where it remembers the very number that you just tried calling, how do we take them at their word when they make other claims about their service?

It would be interesting to eventually discover the reason for what appears to be a very unreasonable requirement. Think about that the next time you try calling someone and you are asked to re-enter that number. If your own organisation suffers from rough-edges like that one, you can be comforted that even large organisations sometimes struggle to get simple things done in a user-friendly manner.

Please continue to share your views on these articles. Contact the author at: www.datashore.net or via The VOICE.

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