Firstly, should laptop charging lights be put on the side the charger plugs in?
That is where the charger plugs in, but not where we sit. Which means many a times, it would be an effort to confirm charging.
How about on the front? Better, since most often, many of us (remember to) charge the laptop only when using. Still not the greatest place since it might require a slight head movement to check.
Or should it be placed someplace else?
Of course, there’s also the flip-side, that of prominently placed lights being a subtle distraction to the user.
Till date, Apple’s indicator on the charger end logically seems to be one of the best spots.
Though surely there are other spots or angles that might be more easily visible to the user.
Where do you think the charging lights should be?
And, on the topic of laptops..their keyboard sizes in particular… guess most of us assume what we buy is all we get…
I stumbled upon a clip of a 1995 IBM ThinkPad 701. Surely pricey at $1500-3200 a laptop, but look at that keyboard!
Incredible! Why isn’t this feature standard in laptops now?
Makes you wonder why the most useful of technology never seems to survive time.
I am currently reading the book Hooked, and happened to read something very important. I shared the excerpt with a design thinking group I am administrator of. The snippet read:
John Gourville, a professor of marketing at Harvard Business School, stipulates that “many innovations fail because consumers irrationally overvalue the old while companies irrationally overvalue the new.”
A recent member of the group asked if I could share examples of this.
I said any attempt by a company to break a customers habit toward a competitors product/service, is an example.
This concept needs to be looked at in context of a larger concept of value.
The book says that a product/service attempting to break an existing customer habit must offer 9-times more value than what the customer currently derives from something existing that he/she is habituated with.
One of my favourite examples, that I used in my book, is about keyboards. Interestingly, I found the same example cited in Hooked. This is about the QWERTY keyboard almost all of us are hugely familiar with. And the example of another product that attempted to replace it. The QWERTY is a very old design. Early 1870s to be exact!
Along the way, a psychologist invented a keyboard called the Dvorak keyboard. After studying usage, he rearranged keys on his keyboard to increase typing speed. What was different, was that the most frequently used keys were put closer together and in the center. A user would spend less time moving to frequently used keys, which were now closer together. Thus Dvorak rightly claimed a significant improvement in typing speeds for anyone who used this new keyboard.
Want something that helps us improve our typing speed? Sounds like a no-brainer, right?
Learning to use a differently-arranged device should not be too tough for humans from an ability point of view. Surprisingly, the Dvorak keyboard never really took off.
Look at the Dvorak keyboard in context of the above 9x benefit. Perhaps the benefit it offered was not high enough for users to leave an old habit (Qwerty). And learn a new one.
To wrap it up… The new guys are like Dr. Dvorak and team. They assume a better product that needs users to do things differently will be an instant success. What they don’t realize, is that users need to see a disproportionately high benefit first. It takes a hugely great product solving a pressing problem, to make customers learn a new way to do something. Little else incentivizes them enough. And in context of more recent startups, it takes astronomical amounts in funding to tempt users to change a behaviour. And that too with no guarantee they will still be around when the offers and freebies stop.
If you own, manage or work at a company, and are grappling with a complex challenge or are in need of innovation for growth, get in touch. More here.
And you might find my book, ‘Design the Future’ interesting. It demystifies the mindset of Design Thinking. Ebook’s on Amazon, and paperbacks at leading online bookstores including Amazon & Flipkart.