Monday, July 30, 2007

The Invisible Computer Generation: Results From The Circuits of Cool/Digital Playground Study

It's been almost 10 years since Donald Norman wrote, "The Invisible Computer." His core principles still hold true, and putting humans at the core of a product lifecycle is as important as it has ever been. It is interesting though, to look back on this book though with a generation that has grown up with technologies that did not exist at that time.

Last week Microsoft and Viacom published a report they did with 18,000 8-24 year olds in 16 countries. "The Circuits of Cool/Digital Playground" report shows that role of technology is now an invisible, organic part of this generation. Only 20% of those surveyed say they were interested in technology, while almost all say they couldn’t live without it. They are constantly on their cell phones and internet creating deeper, closer relationships with others. They don’t look at computers as people did ten years ago. Computers are just another means to communicate as the telephone was before them.

Look at the technologies that they have at their fingertips today that were part of the report:

  • Internet
  • Email
  • PC
  • TV
  • Mobile
  • IM
  • Cable and Satellite TV
  • DVD
  • MP3
  • Stereo
  • Digital Cameras
  • Social Networks
  • Online and Offline Videogames
  • CDs
  • HDTV
  • VHS
  • Webcams
  • MP4 players
  • DVR/PVRs
  • Hand-held game consoles

Here is what I had available to me while growing up:

  • TV
  • Cable TV
  • Stereo
  • Videogames

Do Merlin and Mattel's Classic Football count as a handheld game consoles? I don't think I’ve ever seen them cited as technology gadgets in any reports before, so I’ll leave them off.

What I find really interesting is that while most companies don't follow Norman's human-centered development process and for the most part don’t produce user-friendly products, they have still become organic or invisible to the younger generation. How will this influence product lifecycle methodology in years to come?

Here are some interesting findings from the report:

  • 100% of those surveyed said they communicate every time they go online
  • Top IM topics for 14-24s are gossiping (62%), making arrangements (57%), talking about the opposite sex (57%) and flirting (55%), work or school (54%), and TV and music (52%)
  • Youth audiences also want more control of what they watch and when they want it: They expect content to be on all platforms - mobile, computer and TV - and they want it to be searchable and increasingly expect it to be supplied on demand and online
  • Almost 60% of all young people prefer TV to computer
  • The term "web 2.0" is used by very few people (8%) outside China.
  • 16% admitted to using the phrase "social networking"
  • Friends influence each other as much as marketers do. Friends are as important as brands.
  • Despite the plethora of new communicating tools, a majority in almost every nation expressed a preference for meeting in person; Japanese, Chinese, Poles and Germans scored higher than others when it came to wanting to communicate online; only Chinese youth actually expressed a majority preference for texting over face-to-face meetings

Here is a detailed overview of the findings done by MarketingCharts.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Speak & Spell.