Managing User expectations: A 13 year-old rediscovers a cassette-tape Walkman

We should all read this article on Gizmodo. Or the full post on the BBC.

It shows how much deeply embedded information can be in a product: the kid took few days to find out that cassette tapes have two sides.

He also expected current features, like “shuffle” to exist. At the time, making a mix tape was the best we could do. It was a time-consuming process that demonstrated friendship or courtship. Now it is an easy, low-level expectation.

The boy says:

Personally, I’m relieved I live in the digital age, with bigger choice, more functions and smaller devices. I’m relieved that the majority of technological advancement happened before I was born, as I can’t imagine having to use such basic equipment every day.

Wow. That kind of hurts.

But, it is an amazing perspective. It is kind of cliché to say, but we look forward very differently than we look back. It would be worthwhile to try to design with the user in mind, looking backwards, if we can.

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