Is the consumer getting dumber? Or is technology supposed to be idiot proof? |

Is the consumer getting dumber? Or is technology supposed to be idiot proof?

Samsung Galaxy Note 5’s S Pen storage has a problem, but its Samsung’s fault.

Is the consumer getting dumber? Or is technology supposed to be idiot proof?

Design defects are everywhere. But we are not talking about design defects here, we are talking about badly designed products, ones where manufacturers expect consumers to know something that isn’t mentioned on the product and ones that go against common logic.

Everyone online is raving about how dumb Galaxy Note 5 users are, with 'how to' videos showing off how one can dislodge an S Pen when inserted the wrong side in.

Samsung responded stating that it is clearly mentioned in the manual that an owner should not insert the stylus that way. If they do, then they risk damaging their smartphone.

The issue has to do with the little protrusion inside the tube (chamber) where the S Pen is stored. The protrusion has been designed simply to make the device aware that the Pen is now stored and its features need not surface on the UI.

When the pen is inserted the wrong way, with its clicky back end first, the same protrusion allows the S Pen to enter the chamber, but then locks it up thanks to the gap in the clicking mechanism.

So in short, the clicky back end of the S Pen, which is used to change commands, could have been designed better. Else that tiny little protrusion could have been placed higher up in the chamber where the clicky back end could not reach it (because the chamber tapers).

So is Samsung at fault? Or is the user too dumb? Well, from what is explained above, it is Samsung’s problem.

There are plenty of situations where a user may not be able to see (or is too busy driving or chatting) while inserting a stylus into its slot. It could even be dark for that matter, so yes, there are a number of situations where the user could push the pen in the other way. And this more so because the storage chamber allows the user to push the pen in the other way round.

Explaining this is simple because there are plenty of good, idiot proof design examples, like the USB port. The current generation works only one way around. It has been built that way for a purpose as it just won't go the other way.

As for the new Type C reversible ones found on the OnePlus 2, Macbook etc, there is no restriction on which side has to be facing the user, while plugging it in. Now that’s idiot proof again because it can be plugged in both ways and its a standard, so it works across devices in a similar manner.

The same can be said about an automobile’s wheel, it can only be fitted in one way, else it does not fit or cannot be bolted on properly.

So clearly, Samsung blaming the user for damaging their smartphone in a note in the manual, is an afterthought after the design defect was discovered, after the smartphone hit production.

We are in a day and age where design, both software and hardware, is trying to eliminate the learning curve to use devices. Nobody reads a user manual before picking and booting their shiny new smartphone. Especially a user who is paying price for a device like the Note 5 considering he/she already knows how to use an Android device.

Instead of blaming the owner of the device for the problem, Samsung should put a label on the packaging or the translucent display protector, mentioning the caution. Another warning can be issued in the software itself when the pen is pulled out, like a small pop up message with the caution with an animation (Samsung already has plenty of them in TouchWiz). This is will educate the owner when he/she opens the package and uses the S Pen for the first time.

Samsung also needs to cover any damages related to the S Pen slot as well. Else it can just stop selling the current units and manufacture or fix those that have yet to reach customers.

The consumer is not dumb and neither is he/she getting dumber. It is the gadget that is supposed to be designed with a bit of human logic in mind. And that logic is something that the design team behind the Samsung Note 5 lacked.


Tags : Samsung GALAXY Note 5, Samsung