In a review of Sherry Turkle’s book Alone Together, John Battelle notes a familiar experience in regards to technology: “this cake ain’t baked. I mean, think about it. Facebook: Not quite right. Smart phones? Not quite right. Desktop computing? Even though we’ve had nearly three decades of interaction, it’s still not quite right.”
This issue is only going to get worse, as more and more devices get connected to the Internet. John referenced several separate instances of not fully baked cakes… er, products. Those issues are magnified when a lot of imperfect products are connected together in a network, whether it be a home or work network – or the Internet at large. Plus those products run on software that is never perfect and is always being iterated on (an Operating System, as probably the biggest example). And did I mention the problems with syncing data across different devices?
I’ll give you a quick personal example. Over the weekend I had the latest in a long string of frustrating experiences with technology – and it was with Apple, of all companies. I was trying to set up the Remote iPad app so it would be the central remote control for my Apple TV. Usually Apple is very good about this kind of networking set-up, but on this occasion Remote just wouldn’t connect to my shared home network. I won’t go into the details, but it’s almost certainly OS related and I’m in the process of fixing it.
Suffice to say that I run into these minor annoyances with technology regularly; and so does everyone else.
Imagine though when your house is filled with objects that connect to a network. It won’t just be your computer(s), smartphone, tablet and TV. It’ll be your lighting system, appliances like your toaster and many more household objects. Not to mention the roads you drive on and the city buildings you walk into. Everything will be connected to a network.
That’s a lot of not fully baked cakes!
I don’t have any immediate solutions to offer for this, but it’s something that UX designers and companies like Apple and Google will be struggling with as the Internet of Cakes Things becomes a reality.
Got a recent example of technology frustration to share? Vent it in our comments…