Author Topic: Complexity Causes 50% of Product Returns: Scientist  (Read 941 times)

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Offline rusalka

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Complexity Causes 50% of Product Returns: Scientist
« on: March 06, 2006, 08:40:12 PM »
Complexity Causes 50% of Product Returns: Scientist

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Half of all malfunctioning products returned to stores by consumers are in full working order, but customers can't figure out how to operate the devices, a scientist said on Monday.

Product complaints and returns are often caused by poor design, but companies frequently dismiss them as "nuisance calls," Elke den Ouden found in her thesis at the Technical University of Eindhoven in the south of the Netherlands.

A wave of versatile electronics gadgets has flooded the market in recent years, ranging from MP3 players and home cinema sets to media centers and wireless audio systems, but consumers still find it hard to install and use them, she found.

The average consumer in the United States will struggle for 20 minutes to get a device working, before giving up, the study found.

Product developers, brought in to witness the struggles of average consumers, were astounded by the havoc they created.

She also gave new products to a group of managers from consumer electronics company Philips, asking them to use them over the weekend. The managers returned frustrated because they could not get the devices to work properly.

Most of the flaws found their origin in the first phase of the design process: product definition, Den Ouden found.

Offline rusalka

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Re: Complexity Causes 50% of Product Returns: Scientist
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2006, 08:40:39 PM »
I suspect that many people don't bother reading the manual.

Offline Fenelon

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Re: Complexity Causes 50% of Product Returns: Scientist
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2006, 10:55:48 PM »
It comes down to the fact that user-manuals are very poorly written, full of warnings and legal disclaimers, etc.  It seems one of the jobs that engineering firms set aside for women is the writing of the user manual.  Another probllem are old people who can no longer have the will to sit down with the tool and figure it out. 

Offline anonymoose

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Re: Complexity Causes 50% of Product Returns: Scientist
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2006, 11:03:38 PM »
It comes down to the fact that user-manuals are very poorly written, full of warnings and legal disclaimers, etc.  It seems one of the jobs that engineering firms set aside for women is the writing of the user manual.  Another probllem are old people who can no longer have the will to sit down with the tool and figure it out. 
No, that's the job of a technical writer, who may or may not be a woman. However, technical writers have been outsourced, just like everyone else who doesn't own stock in manufacturing  and software companies. Chances are the manual was written in Bangalore.
Lack of awareness of the basic unity of organism and environment is a serious and dangerous hallucination.
---Alan Watts, Psychedelics and Religous Experience

Offline Fenelon

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Re: Complexity Causes 50% of Product Returns: Scientist
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2006, 11:26:53 PM »
Let's face it.  There are lot more women as "technical writers" than as real engineers.  In my experience, it seemed like most bosses are always shortchanging things like testing and user manuals.  They aren't going to pay someone really intelligent to write a user manual.

Offline anonymoose

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Re: Complexity Causes 50% of Product Returns: Scientist
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2006, 11:37:35 PM »
Let's face it.  There are lot more women as "technical writers" than as real engineers.  In my experience, it seemed like most bosses are always shortchanging things like testing and user manuals.  They aren't going to pay someone really intelligent to write a user manual.
Women traditionally were excluded from fields like engineering. Give them a chance to catch up.

If the technical writing isn't outsourced, it's thrown back on the engineers as an additional responsibility. Companies like Microsoft used to do all kinds of usability testing to make sure that their documentation was up to snuff. I think globalization changed all that.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2006, 09:31:49 AM by anonymoose »
Lack of awareness of the basic unity of organism and environment is a serious and dangerous hallucination.
---Alan Watts, Psychedelics and Religous Experience

Offline Fenelon

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Re: Complexity Causes 50% of Product Returns: Scientist
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2006, 12:05:31 AM »
I agree with the former president of Harvard on this, and disagree with the PC dogma.

Offline god

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Re: Complexity Causes 50% of Product Returns: Scientist
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2006, 08:25:01 AM »
theres a crying need for people to become deneuroticised/deschizophrenised so they produce workable products
what i say is totally subjective

Offline Liberty_Burning

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Re: Complexity Causes 50% of Product Returns: Scientist
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2006, 04:37:03 PM »