Fang Talks

Is that a short joke?

In both the system and the user themselves.

Today I got to play tech support again. Over the phone, no less. Surely you can imagine how that went. One part of the exchange was rather weird though. “It says I need to do x. I don’t know what to do.” I suggested doing x. It worked, and we could proceed. How deep have we sunk if a device can tell its user exactly what needs to be done, and still have the user frozen in fear and unable to process the situation rationally?

People don’t trust computers. People don’t trust themselves around computers. And considering the state of “it just works” being that it’s great until it doesn’t, well, I can’t blame them. Users expect computers to be so complicated that they don’t dare troubleshooting or even trying anything that isn’t part of their routine out of fear of breaking something.

Things shouldn’t break that easily. Problems shouldn’t be that hard to resolve. “Oops, let’s go back to five minutes ago” should be easy to do, but ideally rarely needed. Things look a lot fancier than they used to, but really, we haven’t moved much since the birth and widespread adoption of graphical user interfaces. And everything underneath that shiny layer? Same thing.

We need to humanize computing.
~ Fang

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