Update: Why We Are So Confused, Part II

By | July 23, 2003

From the Thank God Someone Has Figured It Out Dept AMD have released the second installment of their report on customer confusion over terms, which I looked at a few weeks back.

This bit caught my eye:

Our study results also showed that mobile phones are perceived to be one of the least confusing technology products. We hypothesize this may be because cell phones are largely an extension of an existing technology ingrained in everyday life – the regular telephone.

While I agree 100% that phones have managed to keep folk not confused, I’m not sure it’s because they’re an extension of existing technology. It’s because they’re relatively simple. Maximum ten features, ten menus, that’s it. Green button to call or receive calls; red button to hang up. I’ve seen people of all sorts — and I really mean that — using them and exploring their features. When a guy who never went to high school can change a ring tone, you know you have a technology that’s up his street.

Anyway, the report goes on:

However, given what we’ve seen of consumer reticence to adopt complicated high-tech products such as digital cameras and PDAs, consider what might happen as mobile phone manufacturers incorporate these potentially confusing functionalities into their phones.

Once again, right on the money. I’m not convinced a Smart Phone is a great idea if you can’t answer it easily, or make an emergency call with it without some fiddly stylus, or earpiece, or if the software reboots. If you add features to something that’s successful because it’s simple, is it successful anymore?

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