The Little Things That Make Technology Fail

from the don't-make-people-change dept

Lots of devices these days have the ability to “beam” your contact information to another person – but not that many people do so. In theory, it should be easier and better than exchanging business cards, but someone over at InfoSync suggests that the main reason they avoid beaming contact information is because it makes it harder to properly file the information. This is a perfect example of a “little thing” that will doom a technology. The people who created the programs to let people beam contact info to one another thought through the basics of how that would work: you need to have name, title, company, phone number, email, etc., and it has to go from device A to device B. However, they didn’t stop to think what people actually do when they exchange business cards. For most people, it’s a quick way to get name and title information, and to then get the additional information later if needed. In other words, the quick glance gets that first bit of info, and then you revisit it later if it’s important – or the card just gets tossed. However, when you beam information to each other, it skips all those intermediate steps and assumes that you absolutely want to have this person’s contact info. When you first meet someone you don’t have the ability to properly file the card into where it belongs (or, figure out if it belongs). Thus, the article suggests a product that would put any new business cards into a “pending” pile for you to review/file/discard later. Not a bad idea, but, the more interesting element is how this demonstrates the importance of understanding how people engage in a certain process – and not just designing to the task. “Transferring contact info” seems like a straightforward concept – but it’s not how it’s actually done in real life, for a good reason.

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