May 04, 2009

Gadgets & Gizmos

Germans love technology. You will find the use of technology everywhere and there is a tendency to introduce more and more technologies without keeping in mind that too much of it can complicate things. One of our guests came out of a city toilet (which runs a cleaning program after each visit) in panic that there was a sign that the door can open automatically after a certain time. The time (20 minute) was enough but there was something in the thought that the door is mechanically controlled and can be opened without the visitor's consent.

I was watching a TV program which was showing that sophisticated gadgets like coffee machine, car navigation units and ticket dispensers at Rail stations have become so complicated that almost everybody struggles to use them properly. The fully automatic coffee machine had a function called milk island, which the user could not find from the manual. The touch screen ticket dispensers had complicated code input systems and one user mentioned why don't you make it like the dispensers in Singapore. Every station has a button. You press it, insert money and voila! Your ticket is printed. But in Germany you have to go through many complicated menus.

The navigator had a voice recognition system which was not responding to certain words.

The bottom line is that these technologies have been incorporated without keeping in mind that most of the users are not geeks and are not comfortable with complicated menus.
The machine does not isolate man from the great problems of nature but plunges him more deeply into them. - Antoine de Saint-Exupery


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