Why Technology Should Always be Simple

On March 21, 2012

Why technology should always be simple

Every day we use so many products that use some form of technology. Whether its basic products like bulbs, fans, washing machine or advanced products like smart phones, computers, laptops the end user is expected to give some kind of input to these products in order to get a desired output.

If you want to use the fan, you have to press a switch. If you want to adjust the timer in a microwave, you have to turn a knob. If you want to send an email, you have to launch the appropriate application and send it.

Technology has changed the basic nature of human beings. Instead of talking to someone with our mouth as nature intended us to do, we are communicating with our fingers while texting and chatting. Instead of walking to the nearest store to buy grocery, we prefer sitting on a chair and ordering online.

One form of communication, one form of behaviour is constantly getting replaced by another form of communication, another form of behaviour. When this change happens in our day to day life, the technology becomes a part of our life.

We get used to using a particular technology and it becomes our second nature. Once we get used to working with a product in this way, it becomes difficult to adapt to a new product even though this new product may be actually easier to use.

This is where the concept of simplicity comes in. If the technology is simple, people adapt to it easily. If technology is complex, it takes time to adapt to it.

Simple things are self-explanatory. But, it takes time and resources to understand complex things. Often a learning curve is required to understand the functioning of these products.  

When such complexities exist, the end user is likely to get confused and this leads to mistakes while operating the product. That's why, we often come across new computer users who aren't able to operate their computers because some simple mistake was made.

These mistakes may seem very trivial or stupid to an experienced professional in that area, but that doesn't mean that it is the users fault. Only one thing is to be blamed for this: Complexity in Technology.

If we make products that are so simple to understand that everyone, from a 8 year old kid to an 80 year old man, can easily understand and operate it, then the number of potential users for that technological product would exponentially increase.   

Many times technology brings an innovative product that is revolutionary or radically different. But, still it fails to attract customers because no one is willing to go the extra mile to understand it.  

Just having a simple end product isn't the only good thing. Even the process involved in creating an excellent product should be as simple as possible.

Consider this from a software developers point of view. If the technology to develop the software is simple to understand and simple to implement, then greater number of developers will be attracted to it. Having greater number of developers means increased competition which will result in better products for the end user.  

Simplicity feeds innovation. When technology is simple, people can easily learn it. Once they have learned it, that's when innovative ideas start to come in the mind and various possibilities of making a task simple arises.

Thus, we can spend more time in thinking about the idea and building upon it instead of spending that time in understanding the ins-and-outs of the technology.

Also, its easier to move from one simple technology to another simple technology. Once this simplicity in using a product becomes our second nature, then we will start to expect simplicity in operation of every other product that we use.

This is good. This will lead the developers to make more and more simple products to meet the users needs.

An environment where simplicity is expected and not optional, will lead to creation of simple products which will ultimately result in living a simple life. And isn't this what everyone wants?

Image Source : Wilderdom

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