Aug 29, 2008

Finally, Not For The Tech Crowd

{{PennMapDesc|Bucks|New Hope}}Image via Wikipedia I was just reading Rob Diana’s post “Ubiquity Will Not Be Ubiquitous”. I get his points - and there are some good ones - but I think he’s forgetting something really important. All apps are not for the techie/nerd/early-adopter crowd. Eventually, you need to put some focus on the non-tech loving crowd, the newbies. You know, the people who will pay you for what you do. And this app is something people will pay for. Not the technie/nerd/early-adopter crowd. The 50+, money to spend, stuck in the email rut, excuse me, luddites.

Take the simplistic instructions. To nerds, a turn-off. But to your grandmother? Or your mother? Or your next-door neighbor? This is Heaven.

Imagine this: you open an email in Google. The sender is talking about a weekend in New Hope (the recipient lives in New York.) The scenario of a typical non-techie user:

So, where is this New Hope? I guess I can use Google maps. Where is that link? Where are my bookmarks again? Oh, there they are. Ok, type in New Hope PA. Hit enter. Ah, found it. Ok, not too far. Wonder what it’s like? I know, I can check Google. Or that wiki thing. Where’s that link? Ah. Looks pretty interesting. Ok, I guess I’ll go. Next, better check the calendar to make sure I’m free. How do I get back to the calendar? I think there was a link on the top of Google maps, so let’s hit the back arrow. Good, I’m back. 

And the scenario continues, with a few more wrong turns and memory jogs. But with Ubiquity? From right where I am (in the email) I can hit ctrl-spacebar. Type map and enter the place. I see the map right there. Or I type cal, see the link to Google calendar, and go right to it. Ctrl-spacebar again, type wiki, and find wikipedia. No remembering where bookmarks are stored, no remembering the shortcut to open a new tab vs. a new window. Just simple, logical, easy commands.

Yes, there needs to be more commands, and I'm sure there will be plenty, soon.To the early-adopter, the techie, the nerds, this stuff is no challenge.

To those who can surf the web in their sleep, this app may be a disappointment. B-o-r-i-n-g. But to the huddled masses?

This app is pure genius.

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