Choosing Your Technology Wisely
November 16, 2008 by Duncan
As a graphic and web designer I am constantly on the lookout for new technologies, upgrading my skills, testing new software and dabbling in different programming languages to see what can fit into my arsenal. By keeping on top of technology and in the know allows me to evaluate and improve my efficiency as a designer by adding what I find to be a benefit through my review and analysis.
Two main factors that determine my decision to incorporate any technology is “will it make my life easier by saving me time” and “will I be able to better assist my clients by offering a more varied toolset giving them more options?”
All Choices Are Client Driven
Both considerations are aimed at the customer, the less time it takes me to complete a project the less expensive it will be and if I can foresee problems before they arise the cheaper it will be to the client in the end.
To successfully complete a graphic or web design project you first have to lay the foundation by accurately establishing the client’s objectives, predicting barriers and then choose what technologies to use, it is all about time versus money and how long it takes to build solutions to obstacles, the more flexible the technology you choose the better.
Working For the Man
I have come a long way since 1998 when I first started immersing myself in the latest and greatest. At one time I was the go to guy in the electronics department at a big box store where I got to play with all the new high-tech gadgets quenching my thirst for knowledge and proving to be an invaluable experience which has helped me get to where I am today.
So you would think that when it came to me purchasing electronics for myself I would be very knowledgeable (which I think I am) and avoid any gimmicky thingamajigs that are on the market but I to have made a couple of bad decisions at one time or another and I thought that I would share one with you.
I am not your average user when it comes to computers and related equipment for the simple fact alone that I tend to spend at least ten hours a day in front of a screen, I’m a power user so my equipment gets used and abused much quicker than most so I tend to purchase better quality products.
Over the years one of the best companies I have found has been Logitech, I have never had a problem with any of their mice or keyboards in the past ten years and they produce solid, quality products and I have always trusted them.
A few years ago I purchased a wireless keyboard mouse combo which looking back I have to admit that I only bought them because they looked really cool and that they were wireless. I put my trust into Logitech and they didn’t disappoint, their products worked flawlessly.
The Mouse from Hell
So a couple of years later when they brought out there fully loaded wireless MX Revolution laser mouse that was touted as being the most sophisticated mouse released to date, I had to have it. It worked great out of the box but soon I started having issues with it and as I surfed the net to find out how to correct the bugs I was shocked to find out that many people were having the same trouble, it was a $140 piece of crap riddled with various problems depending on your system configuration or how close it was to another wireless connection, it should of never even hit the market.
My first mistake was trust; you should always research a product before you purchase it no matter who the company is unless you have had experience with that particular product. The second thing I did wrong was falling in love with the heavy marketing campaign that went along with the product, Logitech had never done anything on that scale before and I ate it up.
The most important thing that I forgot right from the beginning was the fact that it was just a mouse, all I needed was a simple little $10 device but I wanted the Ferrari and I got burnt.
Back To Basics
Feeling a little bit humble from the experience I have now gone back to a corded keyboard and mouse setup. I stuck with good old dependable Logitech but ironically I didn’t really have to do much research on either product because there weren’t many corded options to choose from (sign of the times I guess) and I can say that they are both top notch and best of all no more changing or recharging batteries.
Sometimes we just get caught up in the details and get lost, we are inundated with so much technology and information out there today that we tend to forget what we were initially looking for all the while being hit by a constant drove of advertisements selling similar products and services.
Below is a breakdown of the three mistakes I made that got me into my little predicament. Although it wasn’t a very costly lesson, more of an inconvenience I feel it is these little experiences both good and bad that allow me to grow by being able to look at myself from different angles be it the designer, client or the consumer.
- Advertising and promotion can sell anything, it is a proven fact. Just look at all those really bad infomercials that use to be on TV late at night, they were on at that time because airtime was less expensive for those hours but now they are on at all hours of the day. If this kind of marketing didn’t sell product then you would never see them on and the funny part is that the advertisements are so obviously low budget and the ads still work. Don’t believe the hype.
Device or Deception?
- What are you really after a tool or a toy? You rarely get both in the same product and these days everything is packed with so many different options that you don’t need but you are paying for and the whole idea of convenience has run amuck taking over simplicity and usability. When your scanner, printer fax machine goes on the fritz you have potentially lost all three, try finding a mobile phone without an MP3 player or camera and it goes on and on just be aware and don’t get caught up in all the so called enhancements.
- Product reviews are a great way of finding out how well something works in the real world but you have to be careful because they can also be a savvy marketing campaign by the manufacturer to exploit the public’s naivety. Trustworthy reviews should come from third parties and watch out for advertisements of the same brand or company from the same source as the review.