Her story is a common among travelers. While technology innovation promises us more convenience, it also adds complexity. Yes, we can travel thousands of miles in few hours, and we can chat with someone on another side of the world, but we also have to carry the tools to do so – and the peripherals that make those tools work.
Innovations often focus on new technology but fail to consider human-centered design. We end up with systems whose benefits are so compelling – being able to call family from the road just to chat, for instance – that we can’t imagine how we lived without them. There’s a simple beauty in the design intention behind a cell phone or a camera. The challenge is to keep that focus, or these technologies can become overwhelming distractions. The complexity added by an imperfect design seems insignificant when it’s just one charger for one cell phone, but it multiplies quickly. How many chargers passed through O’Hare International Airport today? How many travelers wanted to carry chargers, and how many just wanted the service those chargers provide?