Anyone who has made electronic purchases in the last fifteen or so years must wonder why there is so much complexity to operating a simple device. Often, some older buyers shy away from purchasing better quality electronics because they fear they can’t operate them. I remember several years ago when my brother bought a car stereo for my father for his birthday.
The stereo was equipped with a CD player and had several options for programming. It was near state-of-the-art at the time. Fearing he would not make the correct options, my father never used the CD player and left the radio on one station until he traded the car in. Not a great return for such a nice doohickey. TV remotes are especially scary for many people. The wonderful “one remote for everything” should come with a day of training although many people would still struggle. Almost nobody will ever use all the bells and whistles associated with what they buy. It seems that electronic manufacturers focus almost exclusively on the youthful market segment to those who have grown up in the electronic age. That still leaves a very large piece of the population pie that could perhaps boost sales if the fear was assuaged.
I would advise the product managers for the manufacturers to rely less on engineers to design the tools that manipulate the options on your products and focus more on user-friendliness before releasing the merchandise. Surveys and questions by the retailers could help with this and the marketing pitch for ease of use could be extremely lucrative. The trouble with engineers is that they tend to be more towards the geeky side of the social spectrum and relish the time they spend tinkering and figuring out how things work. It seems they assume others do the same, when many people just want utility without struggle and become frustrated with having to spend time figuring out how to use the device.
They then have to call out the nephew to get started and just like my Dad, never touch anything but the on/off button again. I just want to plead with electronics companies to MAKE IT EASIER. Perhaps they could offer two options, the easy one and the more feature rich one for the more technology savvy folks.