So easy even a 2 year old can do it

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31July07 131

Creating user experiences that are intuitive and rewarding for just about anyone is one of the most interesting aspects of my work.

I frequently agonize about the design of programs, worrying whether normal people will be able to understand how to interact with them.  Perhaps I shouldn’t worry too much.  My 2 year old seems to have an uncanny ability to use electronic devices, which should be a credit to the designers.

A list of things my two year old can do (that I don’t want her to do), without any training:

  • In a 5 second burst, using the computer mouse and keyboard to wreck havoc on my Windows Desktop (this is not unique to my child.  A smiling little boy wandered over to me yesterday in the doctor’s waiting room and managed to do the same thing on my laptop in less than 2 seconds)…..Let me assure you that Visual Studio is NOT child-proof.
  • Eject the PCMCIA card from my laptop and bring it to me whilst I am cooking (it happens frequently, let me assure you)
  • Eject the SD wireless networking card from my PDA and leave it neatly next to the pda (she wouldn’t dare show me that one)
  • Switch off our media center (c0mputer) using it’s hardware button when the show is at it’s most interesting (while the audience on the couch yell warnings)
  • Switch on most computers the house whenever she feels like it
  • Access the Internet with mummy’s mobile phone (we suspect that the phone company may have called one day and tutored her on how to do this…there can be no other explanation)
  • Find the “stop” button on the media center remote
  • Pulls out my PDA stylus and manages to run virtually every program on the thing
  • Turn on the phone and lock it out so we have to call the phone company
  • Turns on our digital camera, watches previous videos and takes pictures
  • Turns the heater off and on (of course she’s not allowed to!)

Perhaps I need to model my designs on modern electronics, as these seem to require no prior learning.

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