Why The Future Of Technology Is Simplicity

Posted on January 21, 2010. Filed under: Mobile Technology, Trends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Do you enjoy trendspotting?

I sure do.

Hence those two recent blog posts: Communications Trends For 2010, Part 1 and Part 2.

It’s time to move on to other topics. But before doing so, I wanted to share one more thought about what’s next.

People who are not technologically inclined will determine the future of technology

This golden nugget was mined during a conversation with Avi Joseph. I was gathering fodder for Communications Trends For 2010 (Part 1). We were discussing how social mobile web applications — geo-tagging, for example — will become more prominent in the coming year. Avi offered this intriguing idea, which really got me thinking:

“If you want to imagine more, just ask a friend who is not so technical what they would like to see in a mobile phone, and like that, you will see the future. When you ask me, it’s not so accurate because we [you and I] are technologic people. What we are using my younger brother is not using… It’s better to ask him, ‘What would you like included in a phone that you don’t have today?’… You need to ask regular people.”

Avi asserted the future of mobile lies in the ability to make its technology easier to use. “People see all the icons and they are afraid. They wonder, ‘If I click on that what will happen?’ ”

It’s not how cool the tool is, but how easy it is to use

I admittedly had my doubts about that last one. I recently got an iPhone and was happy to poke around to discover all the neat stuff it could do.

Then I was enjoying dinner with a friend and mentioned my shiny new gadget. My friend asked to see the iPhone, and when I handed it to him a look of intimidation flashed across his face. Right away, he wondered out loud, “Wow, what are all these buttons for?”

My friend — who happens to be a child of the ‘60s, as we are so-called — uses a computer on a daily basis. He does Facebook, too; so the guy’s not a total technophobe. Still, the iPhone’s interface struck him as daunting.

This incident reminds me of Clay Shirky’s comment about how “technology only becomes socially interesting when it becomes technologically boring.” The idea being, it’s not how cool a tool is that determines whether it permeates society, but rather how simple that tool is to use.

Simple is in the eye of the beholder

On the other hand, I was chatting with my brother the other day and he mentioned his five year-old son was playing music on an iPod touch.

Ah kids, they do grow up digital these days.

– Deni Kasrel

Do you agree that the future of technology lies in simplicity? Or is it something else? Please share your thoughts. Comments welcome.

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