Progress breeds complexity

Upon reflection of my post from yesterday, I started thinking that I was being too harsh. The problems with technology becoming too difficult to use stems more from us wanting to do more with them than the year before. Look at the evolution of the iPhone. When it was released, there was no App Store, no cut and paste, no backgrounding. Apple has added those features over the last 6 years, at the expense of ease of use. Now users have to create and manage an Apple ID to use the App Store and learn how cut and paste works.

Computers 30 years ago didn’t have to network or support multiple users. Printers came with a printer driver for your various applications, not for the OS. Just because Lotus 123 was able to print didn’t mean that WordPerfect was going to be able to print. Applications only ran one at a time. Now your computer operating system supports networking, printing and multiple users. Applications can run at the same time. With this progress brings complexity. Users have to know how to access networked resources and to manage users. They have to know how to navigate multiple applications running at the same time. In the 80s we had Automenu and we liked it.

We are victims of our own success.