Borrowing the title from a very famous book called “The Inmates are Running the Asylum” by Alan Cooper. This book talks about the problem for normal people when all functions and digital objects work according to “programmer logic” which might seem like the best and easiest way for them since their brains are already wired to think in that way. For the rest of the population it requires a learning curve instead of working intuitively. One example of how complicated some objects can be are the remote-controlled who usually are very confusing unless you’re used to that or a similar model already. Everyone interested in usability should definitely read Cooper’s book.
The reason I’m writing this post about usability and technocracy right now is the frustration from spending an hour yesterday trying to install a new version of Tweetdeck. The first and biggest problem I have is with Microsoft and their “safe” Vista7 that doesn’t allow me to install what I want even though I’m the sole administrator and user of this computer. Microsoft has decided that the average user is better off with less control of their own computer and therefore it requires a lot of tweaking and looking to find the right settings if one wants to do something more advanced. The second problem I encountered was that I had to update Adobe Air, a program that is required to run Tweetdeck. This program runs in the background of Windows and is very hard to find and uninstall. It kept telling me I had the wrong version installed even though I tried several times to wipe it out completely and make a fresh install. Even though I am a fairly technical guy I never managed to fix it and gave up after all that time I wasted on trying. Now running Seesmic instead of Tweetdeck because it was too technical to fix the issues that arose…
I am very much against the control that Microsoft exerts over the user. Unfortunately Adobe has decided to not support Linux at this stage which forces me to use a desktop I don’t like to be able to use Photoshop and Illustrator:/ Another company I’m liking less and less is Apple and their Iphone. The phone is a brilliant product and very easy and good to use but it destroys the market for the rest of the smart phones. By being as dominant as Iphone is right now on the market, all the suppliers produce apps primarily for Iphone and then if they have the time and resources for other phones. This is an evil circle where Iphone gets more and more users due to their good apps and the increased number of users create an even bigger incentive for the suppliers to produce apps for Iphone primarily.
Tech rant. end.
[pic: CC-BY-NC-SA, ewar woowar]