Tuesday, March 07, 2006

User friendliness still an elusive concept for gadget makers

Average Philips consumer

What was blindingly obvious to all of us has now been scientifically proven: half of all malfunctioning products returned by consumers are in full working order, except the buyers never figured out how to operate them.

This Nobel Prize worthy result has been uncovered by Technical University of Eindhoven researcher Elke den Ouden. Elke presented her thesis to a group of managers at consumer electronics giant Philips, but only after giving them some of their own products to try out over the weekend. The Philips managers scored even worse than the average consumer: none of them got the gadgets to work.

One big question remains: will we ever see any tangible results of this revelation, and if yes, when?

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