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Why are the interfaces of our “future” so bad?

Published

April 23, 2022

In my last post, I lamented how bad the interfaces of today are and how I wish in a hypothetical Minority Report 2 they would just let me paste my availability like a normal human, talking to a real person. Is that so hard? Turns out it might be.

Here’s a demo of what that functionality might look like and below, a few conclusions.

Why would someone want to copy paste availability as plain text?

 

  • Plain text can be perceived more as natural language. For example, if I write my availability out instead of embedded in some HTML markup, my friends, family, and colleagues will think it’s a more trustworthy communication because there are less parties involved in the convo. That is more beneficial than the convenience of the scheduling. That should blow minds, but it makes common sense.

 

  • It makes you present as real. Sales and content strategists here on LinkedIn have encouraged more personalized and trustworthy messages, and a layer of UI in an email is going to act as relationship repellant.

 

  • Trust is built everywhere. We aren’t just having convos in GMail! They’re happening in the real world where emails, Facebook messages, LinkedIn messages and so on all happen.

Some examples of what thatfuture” looks like today:

Available

Doesn’t work unless you are allowing trackers and cookies.

 

future ui 3

Calendly

Closest to a natural language solution, but still adds unnecessary markup to my emails. How am I going to paste that into a conversation with another person over text and messenger? What is in the code?

future ui 4
future ui 5

Boomerang

Also similar to Calendly, but it’s a much bigger tool than what we need it for. Plus, there is no option to just paste my availability as plain text.

 

 

future ui 6

Most people probably want something simple at the native layer if they have this calendar problem.

 

Conclusions and questions

 

  • Product companies are probably disincentivized to build native tools because there is not enough freely available information about usage to form a complete picture on user behavior.

 

  • Not many people would agree to having their entire computer tracked in order to give companies the data they need to make more user-friendly products on Mac.

 

  • The market for native tools is likely a lot smaller when you can build a web-based SaaS company with tons more reach.

 

  • If it’s a valuable problem, Calendly or Boomerang can just strip out the markup on their extension output. Call it an easy win. Or will they? Why wouldn’t they do that? It might even exist today on those platforms, but it’s not a behavior they probably want to encourage!

What do you think?

About the author

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Bryce Thompson is a senior product designer originally from Syracuse, NY, living in Austin, TX.

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