It’s Hard to Make it Easy!

Astrid has an interesting article up at parknews.biz about the city of Chico, CA,  and their hiring of parking “Concierges” to help parkers through the labyrinth of dealing with new parking kiosks and an app to pay for their parking. If you scroll through ‘parknews’ you will find a number of like articles, mostly originating in the UK. People just don’t like em.

I mentioned in an earlier post that Clyde Wilson and I were flummoxed by a parking kiosk near a local restaurant and finally gave up and dared the city to give us a ticket. They didn’t.

If a sixty or seventy year old can’t intuitively work through and understand a kiosk or app, I say it’s a failure.

I worked for two decades for a hardware/software company and when we came up with a new product, we gave it the ‘granny’ test. We brought someone’s granny in and had her use it. If she couldn’t we tossed it and started over, making it easier and easier until she could. I wonder how many software engineers thought of the ‘granny’ test. Most don’t. I had one tell me “after all, if they can’t run this they don’t deserve to drive and park.”

It’s easy to make things complex and difficult to use, hard to make them easy.

The one I like the most is the one that has a sign on it saying “touch screen to begin”.  First of all, I’m not really sure what that means, and second, if it’s in the evening you are out of luck. That sign cannot be read in the dark. Oh, well, maybe folks don’t deserve to drive and park after dark.

Remember what Einstein said: “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”


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