How Apple closed the technology gap between older en younger generations by making user friendly software
Recently I came across this ancient ad for Remington typewriters. How old fashioned, I thought; “For young. For Old. For everybody”. When it comes down to today’s digital ‘typewriters’ the gap between grey bearded men and their grand children has never been bigger. My dad for example can only use – let’s say – 5% of all the functions that I use on my computer. This problem did not exist in the time of the mechanical typewriter.
Sending e-mails, attaching photo’s, writing letters, all the basic stuff that Windows offers to its consumers is already quite a struggle for my dad. So changing the resolution of his screen, downloading software or compressing the size of a photo, is completely out of his reach. This always gave me the feeling he has been left behind, while the rest of the the ICT-caravan moved on. And that, I think, is a very sad paradox of modern technology.
Already a long time ago, when I opened the fist thick manual of my VCR, I sighed and realized that the future of consumer electronics would be products that don’t need manuals. For years I asked myself why do they make things so complicated. Why don’t they make intuitive software that anyone can use without having to study a manual as heavy as a phonebook.
Windows was the market leader for such a long time. They could have invested tons of money in user friendly products. Instead, they preferred to keep milking their crippled cow. I know, they always had to make their software available for a wide range of hardware. But as a consumer I am not interested in the reason, I just want things to work.
What’s more, when Windows introduced software for mobile phones, they didn’t think ‘let’s start from scratch and build ourselves a star’. No, they made a dwarf version of their crippled cow. And that, as you can imagine, was not an improvement. In the one year I used it, I probably lost 10 years of my life. I’ll spare you the details, but I hated Windows more than ever.
Then there was the iPhone. What a relieve. I had been waiting for this ever since not understanding my VCR. This was the first phone I could operate instantly, without having to read a manual. And it gets better, my dad recently bought one too. He loves it. He can use almost all functionalities! Thanks to Apple Remington’s headline – though a little old fashioned – is relevant again; The iPhone. For young. For Old. For Everybody.