Sony's Decline: When great tech isn't enough...

Sohrab Vossoughi wrote last year in the Harvard Business Review about the decline of Sony in the last two decades, and how the strategy that served it so well in the past just isn't enough now. Sony's products have always had great technology, capability, and quality - but now it's the design of the user experience that matters most.  According to Vossoughi: "In the early 80s, simply delivering technology in a usable form was still the biggest challenge, and Sony got it right before anyone else. ... In [today's] experience economy, these expectations are reversed. Technology is a given, and the question of 'what are the specs?' has been replaced by 'what is it like to use?'"  It's a refrain that I've heard professionally, too: clients claim that some tech has been tried before and didn't catch on, when what was really needed was a well-designed experience around that tech.  So Sony, don't fire those engineers - but hire some product designers to make a bigger difference!

Digital Calendars Wasting Space on the Past

Skeuomorphism is easy to identify when it mimics the aesthetic elements of tangible objects, but it can have even more impact when it's subtly copying interactions from the physical world. In Wired, Clive Thompson points out this influence in digital calendar apps, where the monthly view stubbornly sticks to showing a single calendar month, regardless of how much of that month is in the past. This is relic of paper calendars where it made sense to put each month on a single sheet - but digital calendars are free to show just the current week plus the next several weeks, a much more useful proposition. So, why don't they...?  Skeuomorphismmmm!!