I haven’t so much turned into a curmudgeon as I’ve been informed into one. I confess: I’m one of those people who, though I try to keep current technologically, I keep bumping into places where either I don’t get along with tech or tech doesn’t get along with me.
Nothing fills me with more dread than someone telling me – about some app or computer program I need to use in order to get a vital good or service – that “it’s easy”. That is a bigger lie than almost anything Donald Trump ever says.
The hell “it’s easy”.
We’re damned clever, Americans. We innovate like crazy. We idiate bold, exciting technologies as easily as we breathe. But we suck at explaining ourselves. We suck a lot at it.
How much great, innovative technology goes unused or under-used on a regular basis just because most people don’t know how to use it? Ever try to use a program like Photoshop without a deep, deep dive into a Dummies Guide? Adobe’s own “how-to” videos are lovely to look at. But try and take what they say in the video to the photo you’re trying to manipulate with their software and good luck.
You will bump into contradictions and commands that don’t make sense or do what the video says. Want help from Adobe after you’ve bought their product? Get out your wallet. And don’t count on the help being all that “helpful”.
The problem isn’t the technology. It isn’t the genuine desire of the voice on the other end of the phone to help you. It’s the culture in which they exist. It strangely assumes that “you must know how to do this” so their explanation should make sense.
No. It doesn’t. And if you can’t afford to pay for their expensive “help”, you’re left fuming – having spent considerable time trying to learn how to use a product that now intimidates you.
That’s what Photoshop communicated to me – I can’t use their product because I don’t have the considerable time (or money) it takes to LEARN how to use it.
But it’s not that their product is necessarily hard to use – it’s that they don’t know how to explain their product. For all the words they throw at us – they communicate not a bit.