Getting more familiar with KDE
June 6, 2007
Mark Twain told us that “familiarity breeds contempt – and children.” Well add something to that list: superiority. Chalk it up to “cognitive lock-in.” Once you start doing body shots with supermodels (as I should have been doing instead of my weekend software release), those supermodels will most likely have some contempt for you for not being as beautiful or rich as them, but at least you’re the idiot they know, as opposed to the other unknown idiots in the bar. So they keep you around for another round. Whether the supermodels’ familiarity with you leads to children, well – I’ll leave that to your poor decision making skills.
The point as it pertains to consumers in the article (and I encourage you to read them):
“even if a product isn’t especially easy to use, familiarity with it may overcome that drawback as, ultimately, its users don’t have to think about their actions in order to get things done anymore.”
And you wonder why MS and Apple try to hook users at work and in school. Confusion between familiarity and superiority. This particular study is interesting because it specifically deals with computer interfaces, “usability”, and widgets. Windows is the old, annoying husband. After years of living together, consumers should rightfully kick it out on the street and move on. Being expensive, unresponsive, unstable, high-maintenance and prone to picking up the occasional virus: not the traits of a good mate!
But after all that time, they know the strengths and weaknesses…and that knowledge (aka Subject Matter Expert) outweighs learning about someone new. “Same shit, different husband. So why bother with a different husband? I doubt any other will be any better.”
So how do we combat this familiarity and diffidence? First hand experience and word-of-mouth. If our hypothetical unhappily-married woman sees enough friendly eligible bachelors and hears her friends talking about their awesome marriages enough, they’re going to crack. Am I asking you to break up a marriage? If the marriage is with Windows and it’s a user archetype that will legitimately have a better and healthier monogamous relationship with KDE, then yes. Yes I am.
Clear messaging, low barriers to entry, honesty about what your applications can/can’t do, live CDs, demos, testimonials. As I’ve said before – it only takes a one night stand to fall in love with KDE. Then we have the chance to be the familiar lazy husband. Wait, is that where I was going with this?