Product Integration – Usability killer?
April 14, 2008 13 Comments
I used to own (until it was stolen:-( ) a Magellan Roadmate 700 series portable GPS system. The system was so simple to use – it did one thing – GPS and it did it very well. The controls were very easy to use and programming it for a trip was a breeze.
On my new Toyota Camry, I now have the built-in navigation system.
The system controls not only the GPS, but also my bluetooth telephone via speed dial, phonebook etc, the four disc CD changer and a bunch of other things. Operating it is probably as complicated as a 747 cockpit – you have so many options and one wrong click you end up starting over. The other day my wife was going to Boston for dinner. If she had followed the GPS, she would have taken the longest route possible and got there an hour and a half later for what normally takes 45 minutes.
So what has probably happened here – Toyota had to create this one product that integrates the GPS, CD changer, the blue tooth telephone, the trip information and the other 15 things I have not discovered yet. It probably started as one component, which then had to be reworked to integrate the second component and so on. When everything was said and done, we have what I get to use now. It sure does meet all product functionality requirements that it was set to achieve, but it falls well short of usability requriements – thanks to product integrations. Do your products suffer from this same problem?