Re: Article: Looking for the Eureka Button

Subject: Re: Article: Looking for the Eureka Button
From: Sean Hower <hokumhome -at- freehomepage -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 2004 06:53:22 -0700 (PDT)

from the article
Mr. Hill of I.B.M. pointed out that computers and hand-held devices
are not alone when it comes to hidden features. "Even the popcorn
button on my microwave has three different levels, and even that has
some level of hidden functionality," he said. But this was not his
discovery. His 15-year-old son found the popcorn settings.

"Things were much simpler when there were two or three buttons," Mr.
Hill said. "We're just not there any more."

This is exactly the kind of problem that Alan Cooper discusses in The Inmates are Running the Asylum.

My question is, if people only use 5% of features (as discussed in the article) and complain about problems with bugs and usability (my own observations), why don't companies switch their attention from bells and whistles to stable products that with fewer features? I suppose Adobe sort of did that with Photoshop Elements, but I would think more companies would see the problems and address them rather than pretend the problems don't exist by covering them up with baubles.....oh wait, I guess I answered my own question. ;-)

As an OT comment, I couldn't help but notice the "10% of your brain" myth brought up in passing by one of the interviewees. See these for the real scoop.

Mr Burns: Hand me that ice-cream scooper, Smithers.
Smithers: Ice-cream scooper?
Mr Burns: Da**it Smithers, this isnât rocket science, itâs brain surgery!

Sean Hower - tech writer

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