Illustration: Dondy Razon
A new digital divide is undoubtedly in the works.
In the past using a TV, a radio or even a telephone was rather straightforward – the device was either on or off. Fast forward to today where there is a constant influx of new technologies (digital TV, netbooks, smartphones, tablets, wireless routers) and it’s becoming more difficult to understand what a device does, let alone how it works.
The question isn’t as much about the usability of each device on its own as it is about when these devices are used in conjunction with one another. Before, if the TV didn’t work, it was clear that something was wrong with it; perhaps it wasn’t plugged in or the antenna wasn’t in the right place. Today, it could be due to an endless list of problems between several devices. Is the TV hooked up to the right source? Is it properly connected to the digital cable box? Is the box connected to the Internet? Is the power source hooked up properly? Is the router online? Or, perhaps, you’re trying to run the TV with the wrong remote. If the problem isn’t just one thing, but rather a combination of many, you’ve just lost half the users.
The same thing goes for the unnecessarily complex smartphones of today. Without a long and difficult analysis, it is virtually impossible to understand why a phone won’t do what we want it to. It is just as frustrating when a smartphone’s memory capacity has been reached, blocking all of the telephone’s security features and updates. In comparison, it makes the low-tech simplicity of your old Nokia look very attractive.
How do I turn on the TV?
In most households there is a delegation of sorts, where the ‘digital power’ has been bestowed upon the biggest ‘geek’ – usually a child – to take care of everything from programming the VCR (when it still existed) to setting up a wireless network. As more sophisticated and better performing items arrive in the home, adoption by all members of a household remains linked to whether people have taken the time to read the poorly translated manuals. What manufacturers have failed to recognize is that the level of complexity reached by today’s device interdependency is not in touch with the “How does this thing work?” mentality of many people, who rightly refuse to invest multiple hours in something that should be simple, like making a call or watching a movie.
The legacy left by Steve Jobs is a good starting point for today’s software developers and content editors. Innovation should coincide with the (re) simplification of basic functions and the creation of simple methods to centralize commands. Basic principles such as the one-button function must be rediscovered. How will I Skype if I can no longer turn on my iPhone? What good is a TV that can tweet if I don’t know how to use it? The idea isn’t to turn our backs on all of the incredible possibilities that these technologies promise; it’s more about figuring out how to integrate them into fragile household digital ecosystems without losing 75 percent of users along the way.
Read more from Jean Pascal at A Nos Vies Numériques.
Illustration: Dondy Razon
I’ve never quite understood how the death of a public figure could bring people they’ve never met to tears. I too was saddened by the deaths of Princess Diana and Michael Jackson, but not on a personal level. I just couldn’t grasp how the death of a stranger could make you feel such grief. That is, until now.
People talk about President Kennedy’s death and how they remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. I will probably remember the evening of Wednesday, October 5th the same way.
I was having coffee at Starbucks with my friend Kilby while Lindsay was showing us her design work. In the middle of all this, my friend Dave texted me, “Steve Jobs is dead dude…” I interrupted Kilby and Lindsay mid-conversation to share the news as I texted Dave back, “Are you for real?!” He replied saying that Apple just announced it.
It still didn’t really hit me until I got home later that night as I sat in my condo completely surrounded by Apple and Apple inspired products. I may not have known Steve, but his philosophies and products have fuelled my passion for design and technology, and have helped me to shape my own ideas.
Rest in peace. – Sent from my iPhone, iPod, iPad, Macbook and Mac
Apple’s legendary products have always been synonymous with Steve Jobs. Following his resignation as Apple’s CEO, Steve stayed on to serve as the Chairman of the Board until his passing on October 5th.
Do you think that Apple will continue to wow people with devices they didn’t know they wanted without Steve Jobs?
Total Voters: 31
The news seemed to permeate the air waves: Steve Jobs dead at just 56 years young. As I watched the TV broadcast, it simply didn’t seem real – or right, for that matter. And it was only when I saw the stark Apple homepage – normally loaded with products and other cool stuff – did it become real. He was gone. And as night follows day, so soon did the Facebook and Tweet tributes to a man whose impact on society was compared to Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.
Of course, I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Jobs, but there’s no question his inventions touched my life. I remember the “old/new” Macintosh computer helped me foray into the world of pagination as a technology editor for the college newspaper, and his Shuffle kept me company on countless long runs and four half marathons. Later, his creations would permeate me professionally – from the top-down thinking at work, to the solutions we’re tasked with every single day.
Since hearing the news Wednesday, the world seems more and more intrigued by a man who not only understood technology and the impact it could have on the world, he knew people. He knew how to keep them entertained and what could make them happy. This morning on MSNBC, one person quoted Mr. Jobs as once saying, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
Over the span of his career, at times just as colourful as the inventions he’s unveiled, Mr. Jobs unconsciously paved the way for other game changers – people like Mark Zuckerberg (like him or not, Facebook has changed how we communicate) and the “Google Guys” (Larry Page and Sergey Brin). Similarly to Mr. Jobs, these individuals had a passion for the possible and an understanding of the psychology of people.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Steve Jobs’ legacy will live on – not just in Apple products, but hopefully in the way we pursue our passions, focus on people, try – and try hard, and throw caution to the wind to seek the seemingly impossible. Thank you, Steve Jobs, for your diehard vision, and your ability to keep the world guessing about what’s next.