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Old 09-29-2005, 07:00 PM
Jeremy Charette
Editor Emeritus
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,049
Default Are We Developing New Technologies Faster than Consumers Can Use Them?

"TiVos and Treos and BlackBerrys. Wi-Fi and HDTV and plasma screens. Picture phones, digital cameras, iPods and now iPod cell phones. Using sophisticated products and keeping pace with their new features requires significant time, interest and a certain amount of smarts on the part of consumers. It also takes a lot of energy to sort out the bells and whistles you really need from those you sort-of need and those you don't need at all. Complexity among consumer technology products has never been greater -- a good thing if the complexity means product improvement. But Wharton experts say new bells and whistles pose challenges to businesses and consumers alike. Complexity -- along with choice -- can have a big impact on how firms make and market new and improved gizmos, and on the decision processes of the people expected to buy them."

Who would have ever thought that simplicity could be an actual selling point for a product? With computers and technology becoming faster and more powerful by the hour, consumers are being left out in the cold with poor user interfaces; and complex, hard to use software. As a result, product design is becoming more important than specifications or features, at least in consumers' eyes. Look no further than the Apple iPod. The user interface and scroll wheel are simple and intuitive. There are other DAPs out there with more features (FM tuner, more storage, video), but the iPod reigns supreme, because it's easy to use. Other consumer electronics companies should follow their lead.
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