What Does Easy To Use
Really Mean in High Tech?
Yes, you read that right. Instead of using experts to test products, as many manufacturers do, Slovenko's company hires what he calls "the nightmare people", you know who you are, to test electronic doodads. "They need to be mechanically disinclined."
Those folks, who are typically bad with spatial, mathematical and logical puzzles, are put into a living lab -- literally. It's a mock-up of a living room, altered to reflect the environment each person has at his or her own home. They give the people some basic instruction -- "you've just purchased this gadget for $35 from a consumer electronics store, and here's what you want to do with it" -- and then they're literally left to their own devices.
Slovenko and his employees measure 90 characteristics of the product in their evaluation. But a product passes as easy if eight out of 10 testers can get it set up within 30 minutes and correctly complete a basic task with it in 10 additional minutes.
For example- a new digital camera- If testers can open it, insert the memory card, batteries and cables then take 2 pictures and download to their computer screen --the camera passes.
In realty, Homeowners can trust that their "Out Of Box Expereince" will be a positive one vs. the usual.
The four biggest mistakes manufacturers make, Slovenko says: "We all agree right?"
- Not including a complete manual and a quick-start guide to make it easy to get started and find what you're looking for.
- Not making it clear on the packaging exactly what is in the box and what are optional accessories.
- Not making the controls on the device simple, well-labeled and made so they respond to people with feedback. Whenever possible, controls should reflect conventions that people have learned with other products.
- Not making the instructions and parts easy to see and use, with large text size, good contrast and color coding.
The Top Ten List:
| "Not Easy" product ownership experiences:|
10. Quickly getting helpful customer support
9. Assembling a gas BBQ grill
8. Setting up a broadband Internet connection (e.g., DSL, Cable)
7. Assembling an outdoor play set*
6. Setting up a wireless handheld appliance
5. Transferring digital camera pictures to a PC and then printing them
4. Setting up a home computer network
3. Operating a product with multi-function buttons-without referring to the manual
2. Assembling a "Ready-to-assemble" furniture or storage unit
1. Anything to do with a PC