A Bury-the-Complexity Button
4:57 pm June 15, 2010
On Friday, my laptop crashed. Nothing particularly strange or unusual in that. On rebooting, however, it asked me if I wanted to start-up in Safe Mode. I must have had this happen a fair few times in the past, but I just realised, I have absolutely no idea what this actually means. I do sort of know that it’s supposed to prevent the computer from damaging itself and allows me to check it’s not broken, although I have no idea how to check or indeed what I should do if there is a problem. Also does this mean that most of the time its running in unsafe mode? I have previously accepted the Safe Mode option and I vaguely recall my computer having a different background but not much else being different. I also recently upgraded Office on my PC and despite the gazillions of dollars Microsoft no doubt spent on usability, I’m completely baffled by the hundreds of menu options in Word, the majority of which I’ll probably never use and could care less about. I have also just “upgraded” my mobile phone to the Sony Ericsson Vivaz and while its biggest problem is that the person in charge of usability had clearly never turned the thing on, it still boasts loads of menus items I never use (as an aside a particular favourite of mine is the pre-installed EA Games Pack app – which when you select any of the listed games to download it takes you to a site which says they are not compatible with your phone).
Still, this all got me thinking – why isn’t it possible for my phone or PC to monitor the apps and features I actually use and once I’ve been using it for a certain period of time then offer me a simplicity button which hides the things I never use? Microsoft does have a variation on this with the taskbar on Windows and its “you have unused items on your taskbar” message. However, with Word it would be truly great – a single button to hide all the complexity, cutting things down to a really simple, interface tailored to me. Similarly on the mobile, where UI space is at far more of a premium, it would rid me of everything from SMS delivery reports to the pointless EA Games Pack (which currently has top billing on my phone’s menu).
As per my One Button Phone concept, I’ll stand by the phone for the investors wanting in on my latest big idea.
One Response to “A Bury-the-Complexity Button”
Al July 2nd, 2010 at 12:52 pm