My sister is visiting for a week, and bought her 9-month old daughter with. She is the cutest thing: always somehow forcing a smile on my face. As they sit and play in the living room, they sometimes have kids shows playing on the TV. I can’t stomach it at all. My brain melts at the extreme obviousness and verbosity. Some sample dialogue:
Tjif: “Hey Tjaf! Look. We are outside! Look at the sun! It’s so nice and warm.”
Tjaf: “Yes Tjif! It’s so nice and sunny. Let’s go down to grass. It will be fun!”
Tjif jumps up and down.
Tjif: “Yes yes! The grass will be warm and it will be so sunny and fun!”
You get my gist. My niece is enjoying it though: very much. It makes sense. It is simple. It is straightforward. It is presented to the kids in a way that is exciting and understandable. Lots of colours, weird creatures, and stimulating.
My mind wanders (as it does), and I’m thinking: This is so simple. Imagine what a child will have to understand and get grips of to become a 21st century citizen. Then this picture pops into my head:
(Photo courtesy Robert Scoble).
If you don’t know what it is. It is Google’s new “Google Glasses”.
This is insane. So. Much. Information. And. Things. To. Consider. The. Whole. Time.
As far as I understand this is supposed to “help” with information overload? I’m still undecided, as to me, the ease of access sometimes allows more to flood in, not helping the problem at all.
It is inevitable that technology will continue to aid us in new and exciting ways in the future. The problem is, is as it becomes more ubiquitous and embedded in our lives, the most important products will be ones that we intuitively grasp and understand. Adding more features to a product inevitably adds different value propositions, which can lead to diverging uses. This inevitably means that your product’s use isn’t as clear as one simple value proposition. “What am I supposed to do here?”
This is why I believe instagram is such a success (with the recent acquisition fresh in my mind). Share beautiful photos, fast. That’s it. It’s easy to understand. A user understands each step, and they are rewarded.
Look at kids shows. They are overly simplistic. It is so obvious what is happening. Take cues from Tjif and Tjaf. If you are going to want people to use what you make amidst all the other amazing things that occupy our minds, you are going to have to make it really simple and easy to understand.
It is after all fun in the sun.