Have we made UX to complex?

I was giggling at this Video I found on Google Video. It's basically a PR video for the Wang Freestyle. I initially made a joke that it's Adobe's new PR video for LiveCycle (heh sorry couldn't resist).

One thing that did stand out about this video however was the simplicity of the way folks were thinking in 1988 around workflow.

For example, the person doing the demo walks the viewers through a scenario where he wants to markup a document using a electronic Pen (think WACOM). He then rights on top of the cover sheet "Pat $$$". He then clicks on an icon, which resembles his new documents, and drags them onto the desktop. He then clicks on a stapler icon and drags it also across to the paper, and then begins to put it into a mailbag.

The mailbag then accesses an address book, select whom you wish to send it to and then it's sent out. Now how it get's sent out is something he doesn't cover (I'm guessing it's all digital and not physical).

What he just described was Email in today's standard, where I grab a Document from my computer, attach it to an email and push it on by and of course 90% of my TO: and CC: address will no doubt ignore the email - since we are all busy folks now days.

There are two sides to this story. Firstly, the approach taken in putting this into a "mail bag" was simple, in fact most if not all office workers would grasp that concept and it would probably take on a whole new meaning in terms of context.

Secondly, which workflow is faster, efficient and more focused on the end user?

One other thing also came to mind, is that with more and more electronic software coming to the forefront of modern business, is there still a need for Email? Why haven't we evolved beyond email and into more decision making scenarios. I think way to much business practices and decision making are done via email, and less around form technology.

Are we going to look back on this entire technology world we live in and laugh at how crazy people were getting, just like the Wang Freestyle?

Thoughts are, we often make User Experience overly complex and my homework for you is, "what would you do differently with the WANG Freestyle in 1988"

Comments (3)
  1. Jensa says:

    > I think way to much business practices and decision making are done via email, and less around form technology.

    Well – have you EVER been able to sign a PDF digitally? Most folks still want you to print, sign and send. I’ve tried to sign digitally on several occasions, but not even Adobe’s own PR department could tell me how to sign an NDA sent as PDF on my Mac (it’s been a year or two since I tried last though).

    On another note – why do US companies still use fax machines? They’re next to extinct in Europe by now, so it’s a real hassle for me whenever I need to do business with American companies to find somebody that still has a Fax.

    It’s the same thing with bank transfers. Most of the world use IBAN account numbers. They work across borders easily, but for some reason Americans prefer old paper-based cheques. I have vague memories of my father using cheques when I was a kid, but I’ve never owned a cheque-book myself. Cashing a cheque now costs $15 – 30 in Europe.

    "If it ain’t broken then don’t fix it" – maybe THAT is the reason?


  2. Brian Chavez says:

    Wow, very interesting. Never new that kind of system existed…  Looks like it was another technology that was just too ahead of its time… very interesting…

  3. Jose says:

    Personally I believe the PROCESS to unravel the user experience has become more complicated BUT the actual user experience has become more fine tuned. For a designer, their job has become harder because of so many factors they need to consider for that perfect solution. From an end user perspective, things like Silverlight/Flash/Flex make experience infinetely better then it was several years ago.

    So to answer your question Yes and No 🙂

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