Article: Looking for the Eureka Button

Subject: Article: Looking for the Eureka Button
From: "Peter Swisher" <pswisher -at- arisglobal -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2004 15:39:26 -0400

Link from the NY Times. You'll need a free subscription:

When companies get skimpy with documentation and training, you really do end up with frustrated customers who only use 5% of what the technology has to offer. Interesting article which nicely summarizes why I should have won all those arguments with developers...)

An excerpt...
WOULDN'T it be great if your laptop came with a light-up keyboard? It would make it much easier to type in a darkened room or airplane cabin.

If you own one of eight million I.B.M. laptops of relatively recent vintage, you have just such a light. You may just not know it: there is no obvious way to turn it on. The secret is to press two keys - function and page up - simultaneously.Some people discover the light by accident; others learn about it from friends. But many remain, quite literally, in the dark.

"There are all these people walking around with this great feature they don't know about," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, a research firm in San Jose, Calif.

I.B.M.'s keyboard light is one of the great unknowns of the electronic world, but there are many others. As printed manuals grow scarcer while features multiply in computers, electronic gadgets and software, consumers are increasingly on their own in learning what their devices can do. Even basic functions can remain hidden from the user forever, or until some happy accident in which the right buttons are pressed.

Kim Mandala, a homemaker in Flanders, N.J., describes herself as electronic-phobic. "Everything I discover on these things is totally by accident," she said.


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