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HP & Ease of Use

Speaking of easy to use computers, it’s worth remembering that Compaq was a major innovator along this dimension when it first introduced it’s “Presario” line in the late 1990’s. I know – we bought 3 of them. They were marvels of user-friendliness. The box opened to a (now standard) 1-2-3 for dummies setup guide on one page. The cables were all color-coded, so all you had to know was that the purple cable went into the purple socket on your computer. And the CD-ROM ‘setup’ procedure actually worked to walk you through the whole process in a relatively straightforward way. Fast-forward to today, and all these innovations are standard. So where is the next big move in ease of use for PC’s?I’ve got to think that the ideas of segmenting along customer sophistication or age have a lot of merit. What I would pay for a computer that my mother-in-law could use and find engaging! We bought one for her 2 years ago, and it’s been a lesson in frustration. Not only is the software and functions hard to figure out, the machine is physically extraordinarily difficult. Even seemingly simple things like ‘right clicking’ are hard when you can’t move a mouse. Following screen instructions is hard when you can’t see the screen! Different problem with today’s young things – in my house, the patience for sorting out problems is rather limited, and I spend far too much time being the help desk of first resort.

So here’s a challenge for the PC community — why can’t you build a PC that requires no more effort than a TV remote control to operate and would be fun for a change! I’ll pay a lot more than commodity prices for that.

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