How I Choose Technology Products
Of course, people would despise me: it’s a matter of personal preference, whether you pick something over the other. It is also a matter of less relevance to productivity. Some would say that with any tools you use, you can still be productive. The only difference is from the people. I wholeheartedly agree. This piece isn’t meant to be evangelic. It is just there as a honest observation of a designer who is always on the look for the best tools he can use to create.
There are various factors that somebody consider when picking up technology products. They could be the nature of their job, their interests, logical/mathematical considerations (you know some would obsess about specs more than anyone else), to the most intangible reason imaginable: a profound obsession over a brand. You see, the last one is something that is the hardest to change.
I never obsess about a brand. If I frequent a brand, then it is because (a) the way their products do things follow the way I do things very closely and (b) the products minimise the time I need to think about the way it works. When I have dedicated an amount of money to be invested in a technology product, I’d also like to (c) give my first shot the best shot. I wouldn’t want to sacrifice a small amount of money for more money when that small amount of money didn’t work (read: cheap products fail).
Let’s explore by each point.
The way their products do things follow the way I do things very closely
With personal devices, I am my own self first, even before my professional use. I use web browser first more than anything else. Then, I use social, navigation and taks management apps obsessively. Everything else comes after that. Yes, that includes entertainment. I don’t listen too much music or watch movies on my devices (not anymore, I used to do that, though).
The products I use must allow me to do these successively without hindrance. I don’t like being obstructed with unnecessary apps, popups, messages, everything else. I love simple and direct interfaces. I love the widest view there could be. I like things to start fast, and empty. Just type, and go. Just think, and find. I don’t like multiple logins. I love drag and drops. I love great multitasking management interface. I love interfaces that resemble closely to real life objects. I hate hardware that even feels like billboards: full of promotional, technical jargons we don’t understand.
Then, I am a graphic designer. I use Adobe software package intensively at work. I want my folders to be uncluttered, labeled and easy to find in an instant. I want the best calibration. I want to be as close to industry-standard procedures.
The products minimise the time I need to think about the way it works
I don’t know how many times in the past that I spent so much time figuring out how one thing got into an error message, or just why it didn’t work. Even for simple tasks like connecting to a wi-fi network. And more importantly, how they would work constantly good in the long run.
I don’t care how good the hardware specs are if the software is under par, or it will burn in just six months. That doesn’t event count the risk that the operating system would be burnt out because of some threatening executables like spyware, malware or even virus! I love continued, long-run stability, even if it’s slower than that new VGA cards you bought at cheap tech shops in some shanty wholesaler.
I also don’t care how I am so dumb about doing that syntax or command line thing, even though that really is a faster way to do it, if they don’t have simple, ergonomic graphical user interface to do that job.
Give my first shot the best shot
I’ve bought a phone naively thinking that I could live up with that. Turned out I couldn’t. It cost me more to buy another phone that actually worked to my liking. I don’t want this to happen again. I’d rather save and pay premium for premium products when they really suit my productive activities, or get the best-designed cheapest thing there on the market. I don’t want to own three or four devices just to be able to use a browser (read: a BlackBerry, an iPod Touch, a mi-fi device).
I love ergonomic design. I would like to just use my technology products without having to scrutinise what’s inside, do my jobs without obstructions, and finish the day’s tasks with a big, happy smile. And do that all over again, for three years.
It just happens that the brand I frequent is Apple.