Last weekend, I found myself in John Lewis (The Mall, Bristol) perusing through their range of Hi-Fis. One of the great things about John Lewis is that you can do just that, i.e. look at the physical device before you buy it. Its one of those things which I used to take for granted, but has until recently become quite difficult to do (with all the online shopping I currently do).
I admit it. I can’t help myself when it comes to gadgets, I have to touch, feel, press, adjust everything. I need to emotionally respond with the right feelings before I buy into a new piece of technology.
So…there i was, pressing eject and turning on the radio across everything on display, until I came to this JVC thing.
I pressed the eject button on the CD player. The mechanism emerged from sleak white plastic in the most graceful manner. Then, when it had finished moving I quickly pushed the lid down with my hand. A rather loud sound of cracking plastic was audible across the isle, immediately causing me to blush and feel a bit of an prat. I looked at the lid again and read a label, which on reading informing me ‘not to press the lid down with my hand’ (I’m paraphrasing of course). The John Lewis salesman next to me, looked across in a stern manner and asked me ‘to be careful’ whilst testing the eject mechanism once more in the correct fashion.
Some developers would define me as an ID10T user. Which I feel is rather conceited (but amusing) way of ignoring my actions in favour of their personal way of using a device. In other words, we designed it like this and this is how people should use it.
But of course, people don’t act in the same way. People are quite irritating in some respects(!): they just don’t all follow a prescribed formulaic behaviour.
This whole scenario reminded me of a recent Donald Norman talk, where he insists that we should no longer call website users as ‘users’, but instead we should refer to them as ‘people’. His feeling seemed to be that the term ‘users’ is rude and prescribes some kind of herd mentality – whereas ‘people’ are generally much more sophisticated and unpredictable. Hence his term ‘people-centred-design‘.
So…there you have it. I may still be an ID10T user, but so is everyone else – to some degree. JVC and other low-end manufacturers should stop trying to be Apple and make products for the ID10T generation. Rant over.