We LOVE technology. Let’s be honest to say that technology is all around us, and we are in love with it all. Sure, we all complain about it, but try to take the smart phone away from anyone for 24-hours and see them go into serious addiction withdrawal. This is no joke. Run a test for 24-hours. Take your phones and computers away for full 24-hours on any given day and see just how much technology you use regularly.
Now, what happens when tech lets us down by just not going far enough? We all love tech when it works precisely and despise it when it goes wrong. We get frustrated quickly when it just does not work exactly right or does not meet our expectations. However, are these frustrations a failing of the technology, designers, management, or our own expectations? Most likely, all the above.
For example, a quick story from my life, one of my car tires was low.
I started my car, and the dash-board and media screen lit up with warnings that the sky was falling, and I was about to die in a fiery crash. Okay, not exactly but I received enough bells, alarms, warning, and written instructions that it took me a couple of minutes to process the information and clear the screens, so I could drive home. As I was driving, I was thinking that I do not know which tire was low or how low was it. All the tires looked fine to me.
So my fancy computer system in my car knew that one or more tires were low, but it refused to tell me which tire was having an issue and how low it was compared to normal driving conditions. This is a case where technology did not go far enough and did not meet my expectations. How hard would it have been to show me the tire that was problematic? The media screen showed me my car and highlighted all tires. The manual told me that I should check all tires as the system would not tell me the problem tire. Why, I ask?
Is this a failing of the technology or an overly cautious car company that does not want to deal with any liability issues?? The more I think about it; the problem is not with the technology but with the people behind the technology. Someone made this decision and did not think about what the customer would experience when they received such a message. They forgot about the drivers (their customers.)
Technology needs to remember that customers are the reason they exist, and they need not to pay lip service to understanding the customer but really get to understand what challenges their customers face and what they experience when using their products. Sometimes technology allows designers and engineers to lose sight of the customer. It just becomes too easy to forget them in the design process.