The biggest problem that mobile application development companies have these days is how to make their interfaces user friendly. So many great applications have been developed with brilliant and inventive programming from some of the hottest software developers but they have failed in the marketplace because they just didn’t engage the attention of the users or they were confusing for the people who tried to use them. There are a couple of reasons for the failure of software developers to get this right and some good examples of how powerful it can be when they do.
First of all,the problems. The principle problem is the human mind. Technology moves fast, really fast. Roughly at the rate that was first dictated by Moore’s Law, which states that computing power will double every eighteen months or so. This means that computers grow in processing power at a rate that is difficult for many people to comprehend and there’s good reason for that. Evolution is the way the human brain is improved and when compared to computers it happens at a hideously slow rate. It took about ten million years for the human brain to evolve from one that wanted to live in a cave for shelter to the one that helps you log into your email account. So it’s not surprising that some of us find it difficult to keep up with the way technology moves. It also helps to explain why it’s so hard for older people to engage with computers and why those who are born around it find it much easier to understand.
Studies have shown that humans respond better to a computer that is nice to them. Participants in one study were asked to rate how well a certain computer program worked and they found that when the computer gave the user’s gratuitous complement they rated the effectiveness of the program higher. What’s more, they would rate the program better if they were asked they survey questions on the same computer, as opposed to giving it a lower score when asked the questions on a different computer. So if a software developer fails to take into account the feelings of the user, it seems,then they are less likely to have a successful product on their hands.
It has also been observed that uses are less likely to engage with any technology that is likely to make their job harder, even if it results in a higher quality of work.
These are some of the reasons that account for the enormous success of the computer company Apple, and the studies I have given above were no doubt of keen interest to the company when it was going through its refocus in the late nineties to become more user friendly. The sleek white design and emphasis on usability have helped the company transform from a struggling player in the world computing market to one of the biggest names with a very considerable market share. They have become the computer for people who don’t know much about computers, and this marketing has just happened to take place at a time when computers are becoming so much cheaper and easier to manufacture so the spread is increasing outwards to people who in the past would have had no need or desire to use a computer.
It’s interesting to try and cast our minds into the future to see what things will be like in ten or twenty years, considering how far we have come in the last five. There are many interesting things to come in the years ahead.