A salutary tale for PDA users
“At the Computer Human Interaction 2004 conference in April, Starner presented a study that he and his students conducted at Georgia Tech’s Student Center. The researchers asked 138 passing subjects — mostly students — what they used to keep track of their appointments: their memory, scraps of paper, a day planner, or personal digital assistant of some kind. After the initial question, the respondents were asked to schedule a meeting the following Monday. Then, the researchers watched.
With the exception of people who claimed to keep everything in their head, roughly half of the people who said they used one method for tracking their activities actually used a different method to schedule the follow-up meeting.
The most inconsistent were the 44 day planner users. Only 14 actually opened their planner to write down their appointment. The rest either scribbled a note or committed the meeting to memory. However, they were hardly alone in their actions. Of the 22 people who claimed that they used scraps of paper, nine didn’t bother making note of the meeting. Even the technologically inclined didn’t fare well. Six of the 14 PDA users said their device took to long to get ready, and instead opted for other, simpler methods.
The takeaway, Starner says, is that ease of use permeates every interaction we have with wearable and mobile technologies. The easiest solution for remembering, if also the least efficient, remains memory.” [From Tech Review.]