Don Norman: Designing For People

Nielsen Norman Group

Digital Living Room

December 5, 2005. Digital Living Room Summit, San Mateo, California. I'm was on the panel moderated by David Pogue of the New York Times, called “Plug and Pray,” about “the inability of different devices to connect shared content and often, simply work.” Within two hours, the first stories had hit the air. Amazing what the modern, fully wired, journalist can do.
 
Red Herring said: “At one point, Mr. Norman, a skeptic who couldn’t name one recent product that he thought was worthwhile, sent the audience of entrepreneurs into giggles by poking fun at the long chain of acronyms used by Mr. Hunt to discuss a future of compatible devices and universal standards. “
 
CNET news.com chose to mention my live demo: “To illustrate this point, Norman stood behind a PC and displayed the many cables, wires and cords snaking in and around the machine. “We can't even handle the plugs right,” said Norman, scoffing at the industry's inability to agree on standards for power cords.“
 
ah yes, it was fun, even if not very enlightening. The problem, as I (and the other panelists all agreed) was not with any one company, but with the industry. Until there is agreement about standards on format, connectors, DRMs, and all aspects of interoperability, the consumer's life will remain a mess. No wonder so many people refuse to buy any more products: they dare not brave the wiring closet.  It is long-past time to reach agreement: put aside your petty proprietary standards: it will benefit everyone..

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