Consistently Inconsistent

July 10, 2015

I’ve been wanting to write on this subject for a long, long time.  Why can’t the people who design computers, electronics and things that use it—even trucks, make the interface to the user consistent?  For a simple example, as well respected as Apple is for its “user experience” focus, they fall short in my opinion.  This morning, as can happen with electronics, my internet service went out.  Fortunately, I have a backup way to work.  I moved from my 27” iMac (that’s easy to see as you get older), to my 17” MacBook Pro.  I connected my phone to the USB connection and enabled the personal hotspot feature.  Vwa-la, I’m working again.  

Would you believe that the keyboard on my MacBook Pro is a just a little different than the wired Apple keyboard on the iMac?  Yep.  The bottom left key on the MacBook Pro is a “fn” key that allows you to get extra functions out of some keys.  On the iMac, that key is to the right of the delete key.  Okay, I can understand that there is more room on the iMac than the MacBook Pro.  But, the “control,” “option,” and “command” keys are important enough that they should be the same on the two keyboards.

Now, let’s look to what goes on in the cabs of our trucks.  It’s astonishing all the different ways I have to move things.  Some switches I push up, others down.  Some are momentary.  Some take a single push and sometimes a double push enables a special feature.  My neighbor works for Enterprise car and he was explaining to me how they fool people sometimes by putting the cars into transport mode with special sequences of switches, pedals and rubbing your stomach and patting your head or something.  And, that’s not just for cars.  Our trucks have some hidden things the engineers and service people have put into them.

We have knobs that turn and sliders that move left/right.  We push and hold some and pull up on others.  Hold the turn signal just right and it is momentary; but, go a bit further and it’s fixed.  Don’t get me started on the transmission controls and the safety devices and the fleet management systems and more.  And now, the passenger car companies have begun to implement gesture control.  Have you ever been confused using a trackpad on your computer with its different options for single finger, two fingers, three and four?  Some people refuse to use one.

I could go on and on.  In fact, I’ve been collecting images of all the new car and truck dashes for the last 3 years as they get introduced.  Perhaps some of you would appreciate a webinar of 30-45 minutes where I discuss this in more detail.  If so, let us know.

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