The customer that tech forgot

There is an increasing trend towards spec-blindness in the consumer space.

The average man on the street doesn’t want to know that their phone has a dual core processor, 1GB RAM and a WVGA Super AMOLED Plus screen... and they don’t need to know.

All they care about is that it works for whatever they need it for, be it for calls, emails and the odd game of Angry Birds on the train home.

While us more technically-minded people may obsess over the technicalities, it’d be silly to expect the same from everyone else.

Part of the excitement around technology in recent years has been its wide availability and usability. We are told that anyone should be able use our technology systems, and as CIOs, we are under pressure to deliver ever easier-to-use programs and simpler interfaces for the end user.

But the noisy marketing around this positive message of usability can sometimes hinder the objective.

The problem is that the man on the street is also the man in the office. It’s too easy for all the wonderful technology that we have available to us to get lost amid the noise and garbled messaging, putting it beyond the reach of normal people who have to interact with and use it every day.

The hype machine can obfuscate what’s on offer by making it confusing for those who are making purchasing decisions, somewhat defeating the marketers’ best intentions.

Apple is one of the few companies to have got this right. It makes its technology engaging, accessible and attractive.

It doesn’t bombard its potential customers with the nitty-gritty of what goes into its gadgets, instead focussing on what they can do, and what this means for the users.

There are much more powerful tablets on the market than the iPad, but Apple still dominates the tablet space because its tablets do not sell on their tech specs alone.

Apple trades off an image of accessibility and ease of use. It projects the image of making beautiful, sophisticated technology which anyone can use.

Other companies are increasingly following suit, and are opting for clear, customer-friendly messages, looking at the end result and consumer need, rather than the intricacies of the hardware itself.

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