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Monday, April 16, 2018

On Democratizing Technology: How hard can it be to set the clock?

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Car ClockPart of the advantage of my job is I have this blog, and I am allowed to complain. My Andy Rooney moments.

I was recently in South Africa, and rented a new Mercedes C-180. Nice car, except, the user interface is a nightmare. The clock was set 18 minutes slow, and in three weeks I could not figure out how to re-set it.

I have now found a 5-minute video on how to set the clock: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fE87pscWR4

Except, this is for a past model. The driver interface is now quite different. The C-180 user manual in my car was mute on how to set the time or clock. What is astounding is that the driver has to reset the clock twice a year for daylight savings time. The car has both a navigation system and a phone interface. How does it not know the time?

Here, https://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/la-crosse-technology-atomic-clock-with-temperature/1041101933, you can get an atomic clock that knows the time, all the time for a few ($28) dollars. Amazing considering the $50 grand or so you just dropped on your Mercedes-Benz.

I think this is quite an important issue, the need to democratize technology so the interface is easy and intuitive (or even automatic) for the end-user.

This goes directly, I think, to the question of the usability of software and technology. It is ridiculous, in my mind, that you have to master an electronic user manual or watch a five-minute video to adjust the clock by 18 minutes.

Let me know what you think!

Keith

Keith Meintjes

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