I have a theory (I need a name for it, suggestions welcome). The theory states that “technology advances until it collapses of it own weight”. The concept is that a technology is created, users adopt it, and then the geeks and engineers add to the technology and it gets more complicated. Then they add more and it gets even more complicated. Then it collapses…because, it is too complicated.
An example. When I was growing up (I’m old) the measure of the coolness of your stereo system was how many bands you had on your graphic equalizer. It started with 3, then 5, then 7 and pretty soon there were three or four hundred pots on the separate component. No one really knew what you were supposed to do with them, and we ended up making a nice looking wave pattern with the sliders.
Now, after the collapse, we have the iPod. One button.
There have been some interesting user statistics and predictions lately. The recent Wired article announcing The Web Is Dead created a buzz. The premise (as I saw it) is that the free and open web, partially defined by websites and the browser, is being replaced by apps. Content companies, in an effort to regain control of the user experience, are moving to apps. App data can’t be cataloged by Google web spiders, and the content provider can define the experience and advertising.
Look at some interesting data from the Pew Internet & American Life project. It states that about 35% of mobile phone users have a phone that runs apps, but fewer than one in four actually use the apps. One quarter? As a geek, is it hard to believe that most of those people aren’t using the apps?
When Twitter updated their home page recently, geek jaws dropped when it was announced that 71% of users came to Twitter through the website. “That can’t be…we use TweetDeck…HootSuite…some other client” One “social media expert” once told me, “Twitter is the most popular site that no one ever goes to.” It seems that expert wasn’t quite right.
We are experts on what weather information users want, right?
So, what is the point…and yes, I know the trend on app usage is going up. The point is to remember those who are left behind by the technology. If getting the data becomes too complicated, or they simply don’t care as much as we do, they will go elsewhere. I believe it is a huge group. Weather geeks are, by definition, tech geeks. Sometimes we add bands to the graphic equalizer because we can, rather than because we should.
More to come…but take a minute to look at Nate Johnson’s post again. If nearly 50% of iPhone users are getting their weather information from The Weather Channel, that is our fault not the user.