Why Is It All So Complicated?

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An awful lot of people have gone through the last 25 years repeating this well-known mantra: “Windows is Rubbish!!”. When absolutely anything behaves unexpectedly on their computer – “Windows is Rubbish!!”.

My wife often asks me to take a look at her laptop because something has “gone wrong”. I’m happy tinkering about. Whether it’s just an obscure setting or a new driver, I’m very comfortable.

I’ve been working with software and computers since the early 1980s so you’d probably expect me to be comfortable and even competent, but it always crosses my mind on occasions like this – “What do normal, ordinary computer users do when this happens?”.

Why Do We Force Everyone To Be A Techie

Windows has certainly had its idiosyncrasies over the years, but Microsoft Windows definitely isn’t rubbish. It’s an extremely complex collection of software modules that, these days, keeps most of the world running.

What is rubbish is the attitude of a huge percentage of the technical community that just takes for granted that everyone will understand how to interact with the underlying settings and configuration of the software they design, no matter how counter-intuitive they are. And this from someone who’s been creating software for nearly 35 years!

I’m not Windows bashing here. Pretty much any business software has caused its users headaches at some point. You press a button, something odd happens, and there seems to be simply no way back. Tech support will often guide you through a series of bizarre commands involving you pressing 14 keys at once with the 8 fingers and two thumbs you’re equipped with, and deem that to be perfectly acceptable.

Take The Techie Out Of It

My wife is perfectly capable of figuring things out, but why should she need a computer science degree to write a letter or answer her emails?

In my view, the software you use is just a tool. It should get out of your way and let you get on with the job at hand. You shouldn’t need a technical person at hand every time you use it.

If you want to see a great example of taking the techie out of things, have a look at our own Learn with Mobile e-learning platform. We’ve got completely non-techie people loading up courses, pulling off stats, and managing huge learner populations without any trouble. And their learners simply switch on whatever device they are comfortable with and start learning.

It’s an extremely rich and engaging environment but the techie bit stays where it should be – with us. We’ve designed the software to get out of your way and let you get on with what you’re good at. And it’s up to us to make sure it just keeps working for you.

We’ll see more and more of this kind of thinking in future, but only if you – the people buying the software – demand it. So take that into account next time you are evaluating software. Over 100,000 learners (and counting) can’t all be wrong!

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