Part library, part journal, all me

Questions of complexity

Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I have to say I’m loving Flipboard on my ipad after one of the guys at work showed it to me – particularly the way it handles the twitter feed.

Last weekend was one of technical disasters when I did a firmware upgrade on my Macbook Pro that didn’t complete properly. After the simple stuff didn’t work I finally utilisied sufficient patience and care to access the utilities folder and went through the process of checking the hard drive (wasn’t that), re-installing Lion which kept erroring at the very and finally restoring from back up – which worked. The only option after that was a factory settings reset. It was a bit of a lesson though – my back up was five months old. I didn’t loose that much but it was very stressful, despite enjoying my new little ASUS ultrabook, I realised how attached I still am to my Mac!

It has also given me a new appreciation for Google Docs. I’m actually constructing a report in sections on there now to keep it safe.

One of the things I have been thinking about a lot this week is the impact of complexity on usability for online resources. Our expectations of rapid response when we click on a link or save something are increasingly formed by a combination of high speed connection and simple apps that only do a limited range of tasks well. So websites offering more complex tools seem slow and laggy when they process information. ┬áRelated to this is the user expecting that complexity to be available on a tablet which despite it’s shiny new toy interface hasn’t actually got the guts/processing power of a standard laptop/desktop.

In some ways we are own worst enemy in that creating some tools (like this blog) is so simple and kind of magical that we expect everything will be when what we want to achieve with design and formula is not easy – I have seen complex excel spreadsheets slow down as they churn the calculations, and we can be reasonable tolerant of that, but put a web interface on it (which adds layers of tasks for the computer to do) particularly one that presents the data in a novel way and we wonder why it is taking a while.

And I don’t think there is an easy answer…


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