About me and my product philosophy

My name is Rocky Agrawal. I am a product designer for AOL and have been designing Internet services since 1994. This is a personal blog and in no way reflects the views of AOL.

This blog will take a look at everyday products and services and how they could be designed better.

Many (if not most) technology products are designed for geeks by geeks. They’re full of features that get in the way of every day users. Or they’re full of acronyms and jargon – consumers shouldn’t have to deal with terms like SSID, WPA or enter things in hexadecimal.

On the flip side, some products are stuck in time and their core functions haven’t changed, despite significant advances in technology and the public’s acceptance of technology.

Products should just work. If you have to refer to the manual to get it up and running, it’s too complicated. If a feature on a Web site has a link next to it saying “What is this?”, it’s too complicated.

Some examples of things that just work:

  • iPod and iTunes
  • Google Maps
  • Logitech’s Harmony Remotes

And things that don’t:

  • Bluetooth. I have yet to have two Bluetooth devices talk to each other without a lot of fiddling. Even then, many of the supposedly compatible devices don’t work together.
  • Most consumer electronics remotes. Companies give very little thought to the device that most of their customers interact with.
  • Windows.

About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is Senior Director of product at Amazon (Audible). Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. He tweets at @rakeshlobster.
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