The Evolving User

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According to the New York Times and Forrester Research, people in the US of A are moving forward and everyone is getting on the tech bandwagon.

To wit:

63% of American Households have a broadband Internet Connection

75% of households have cellphones and PC computers

10 million households have added an HDTV last year (a 27% jump)

Total market penetration for HDTVs will be 70% in five years:

Half of American Adults identify as “gamers”

In the next five years, 39 million households will get their first HDTV set:

33% of families with Net connections have home networks, up 28% from a year ago

In the next five years, Forrester estimates more than 30 million households will install a home network, bringing total market penetration to over 50%

What does this mean? One angle is that usability is going to come to a crisis point very soon, as people adopt technologies with outmoded interfaces. Setting up a home network is very hard. One expert I’ve spoken with says it often takes him several hours to help new users set up home networks to enable things like internet television, printer sharing and file sharing.

Expectations for technology is very high. Talking to “power users” about emerging technologies, the response I hear often is “why doesn’t this work right now?”…people don’t understand that these simple-seeming challenges of getting devices to talk to each other are not resolved yet.

The next 3-5 years will see (I hope) plenty of work to make the next-generation devices adopted by this larger pool of users easier to use and smarter, too.

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