Who is a frustrated user?
If you asked me a couple of months ago, the answer would have been “me”. Then, who is a satisfied user? A couple of months ago, that would have been “me” again. The line separating a frustrated and a satisfied user can often be very thin.
To cut a long story short, I had bought online one of the market-leading Android mobile phones which is well-known for being user-friendly. Within a few minutes after charging, I was able to connect to Wi-Fi, download and install the free apps I needed, take pictures and share them with others, import contacts and messages, start chatting with friends, etc. All done straight away, using the reasonable interface. What else does a user need in order to be absolutely satisfied? Well, s/he needs not to go too far.
Suddenly, I became rather suspicious. It was too good to be true and I was too curious to be just satisfied so easily; briefly, curiosity ruined the day of the “previously satisfied user” (that was me, in case you were wondering). I decided to switch the interface language from English into Greek. A few minutes later, everything changed: from the home screen to the expression on my face.
Eventually, I had to spend half a day looking for the SIM card’s PUK (believe me, it’s much easier to find a needle in a haystack than a PUK number in my apartment); as for the other half of the day, I was trying to get through to my provider in order to PUK unlock the device. What had happened? Due to a mistranslation, the phone had been deactivated; more specifically, instead of setting a PIN for the screen lock, I deactivated my SIM card. And all that, just because both the translator and the reviewer did not understand (or were not given any context/time to understand, or who knows what else…) one of the phone’s main settings.
Two months later, I’m still using the phone in Greek (don’t try this at home, unless you keep a note of the SIM card PUK in a safe place); not because I am a masochist, as one might think, but just for testing purposes. Whenever I need to change an ambiguous setting, though, I always switch back to English. But is this how it was meant to be? This issue is further investigated in Simplicity, the ultimate sophistication.
Author: Yannis Evangelou