What is the QWERTY keyboard? The first six letters at the top left of your keyboard spell it out QWERTY. This arrangement of letters, along with the other 20 on the traditional keyboard were actually arranged that way to make the job of typing more difficult.
In fact, the controversy goes far beyond this story. This analysis and many others like this one are typical from the current emphasis on bounded rationnality in social siences. In economy, It goes into what is call "neo-institutionnalism", with Douglas North, the 1993 nobel price-winner, as a remarquable figure. His work and many other show that economic evolutions are closely embedded in social constraints. For exemple they create "path dependent" situation such as the Qwerty story (and to be fair almost all technology story). Neo-classical economists and free-market proponents just can't stend this, since it breaks down most of their models - look at the source of your links - . However, despite all the possible detailed arguments against this specific story -you always find counter-arguments in a case- it does not take much more than good sense to see that technologie, especially in his functionnal design area his highly path dependent. You may think about right and left clicks, 140 car twitter limit, or almost anything the Web use everyday, and imagine whether thinks could have been different... by Sep 24
And an interesting post that puts things in perspective http://www.reason.com/news/show/29944.html by Sep 24
Maybe not really accurate though: http://phasetwo.org/post/the-querty-myth.html by Sep 24
I'm participating in a panel discussion this morning during the offsite of a major media company. They sent me a list of questions in preparation of the event. One of the questions was the title of this post; "What drives consumer adoption of new technologies?". It's an interesting question and one I've never tried to answer directly in writing.
Excellent post indeed - By the way, welcome to Pearltrees by Jun 15
I designed HomeSite and TopStyle for power users. Only power users would want to edit HTML & CSS by hand, so I made sure to cater to them. Those products were filled with features and tool buttons, and their settings dialogs contained dozens of geeky options. Customers liked them that way. I liked them that way, too. But then I made FeedDemon .
Nick Bradbury: Screw the Power Users
At The Economist Ideas Economy event Matt Mullenweg , founder of WordPress , in an excellent talk about open source software, proclaimed the end of the killer feature. He asked the packed audience of high profile influentials how many people use Firefox, and how many of them have a plugin installed – and a good percentage of them raised their hands. He’s got a point. For many kinds of products, it’s the end of the killer feature.
The end of the killer feature
Criticism and Two Way Streets
A post by Jason Fried titled “ Give it 5 minutes ” reminded me of a great technique I learned about from Bill Buxton . Bill is a Principal Researcher in Microsoft where his main role focuses on designing a company that permits great design to happen. As many have learned to their peril, it’s not simply a case of just dumping talent in a room full of Ikea furniture. In large companies you have to design the process that creates design. One key idea Bill advocates is an emphasis on exploring the solution space before iterating on a solution.