Where Science Meets Muse

Poor Technology Designs Keep Getting in the Way? Think IDEALLY!

Posted by Plish on January 31, 2009

Is Poor Technology Getting In Our Way?

Is Poor Technology Getting In Our Way?

“Technology’s single most important obligation is to get out of the way.” –David Gelernter, Machine Beauty: Elegance And The Heart Of Technology

How often do we find ourselves getting frustrated with computers hanging up on us, forcing us to “save” at every turn because we might lose everything if we don’t? (As a matter of fact, at this moment I’m typing this blog with one web browser window ‘stuck’ open, eating CPU so my words don’t all show up when typed immediately, but I can’t close it because I might lose this blog!)

How often do we find ourselves sitting at some event only to have a Britney Spears ringtone pierce the silence, and then find out it’s our phone that we forgot to turn off? (and no, I don’t have any Britney ring tones!)

Technology doesn’t seem to get out of the way, it gets in the way, it makes us its servant-and why?


And this means, among other things:


Think about truly elegant, creative and innovative designs, how they often elicit the term “ideal” when describing them.  It seems that they only bring advantages and no disadvantages-they allow us to live life without interruption-they get out of the way!

People forget about ideal products because it seems technology has duped us into an, “it’s good enough” syndrome; we forget and often don’t even try to develop better methods, better processes, better technological products because some aspect of our lives is served well enough. 

That shouldn’t be good enough!

If you want great, creative solutions, strive for ideality-strive for the solution that’s ideal-literally.

If you want an idea of one way to solve a problem using ideality as your goal, check out this TRIZ technique based page that gives some great examples.

What do you think? Is most technology poorly designed so it gets in our way too often? Are the systems supported by technology poorly designed so that they encumber instead of liberate?


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