Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Is Simplicity As Easy As It Looks?

"Simplicity sells," New York Times columnist David Pogue once gave a talk about. And it does. It is one reason Why I made the Switch. Technology is scary for a lot of people. Don't even get started about Computers in general--- most people are intimidated by them.

But you know what? That's not a problem for people. It's a problem for the Tech Geeks. We've got to make technology so simple, so easily understood, so uncomplicated that common people need not have to even think about it. Press a button on a device, a computer, a piece of software and it should just work.

When a piece of software or hardware starts asking the user for anything other than a username or password or how to register to get a username, and starts asking you about "IP address" or "ports", or "virus scanners" or types of anti-virus software or even firewalling, that should be a clear sign that the product is too damn complicated! For Geeks, it's fine but what do most people care about those things? Complexity becomes a barrier of entry.

This is why I love Bonjour and Bonjour like solutions.

Bonjour is Bluetooth for computers and computing services. It connects services websites and browsers without the user having to even think about IP address or for that matter, URL. One click and "Boom!" you're at your website without you having to think about it.

Bonjour is the secret source that allows different iTunes to share music for example. It is the same sauce that makes iChat sessions possible within an internal network without setup. Bonjour is open source Apple technology but what's great is that there are other open source versions out there!

Take this piece of software called "Avahi" which is essentially Bonjour for Linux boxes. You can create bonjour-aware services using Avahi. Want the local company Intranet homepage to be just there? Using Avahi, you can make them Bonjour enabled. Secure File Transfer or Windows Share just appear to be "just there" like plugging in a Flash drive? You bet ya.

Making Technology so easy, so hidden yet so accessible is the wave of the future.

Geeks need to think about the 90% of people who will use their product and that means, technology has to be made so simple, so just there, it just works, like magic.Of course, writing software, or building devices that easy to use isn't a walk in the park either but it's why people pay Geeks, big bucks.