one man's journey into creating gibblybits

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

In defense of something new...

It's no big surprise Scoble is getting reamed over his support for Mahalo. Personally, I find the backlash and utter disdain for Mahalo reprehensible. Here's a note, Web gurus and codemonkeys: Mahalo wasn't made for you! It was made for my granddad, my mom, my cousins in France-- the people who use the web but don't know HOW to use the web, and frankly, they don't give a shit.

Do you care about the inner machinations of your car's gas intake system? Maybe when it breaks down, but you don't get in a car and start pondering the methodology it uses to actually move you around the town, do you? OK, I know, some of you techies (like myself) will get curious and start thinking about it... Well, cut it out. We're talking about everyday people. People with lives, kids, school meetings, insurance issues, lawns to mow, rooms to paint, shows to watch, SHIT TO DO. They don't give a frak HOW Google works, and frankly, I've seen them give up in anguish at some of the simplest things.

For example, take the ABC show "Lost." Three keywords would describe the show: Lost, ABC, island. Those are inherently generic keywords! Put those in Google and you are carpet-bombed with a dizzying array of resources-- probably 60% of which you couldn't care less about. The average user, who you may recall pays our little blogger bills, doesn't have the time or inclination to sift through that mountain of raw data. Nor do they know (nor should they be required to know) how to type a proper input query to find exactly what they are looking for.

That's where Mahalo comes in.

OK, great, you can construct SQL queries in your brain to the nth degree. You are a special person, because I can walk up and down my street and I'll be lucky to find one person who knows and/or cares what SQL is. Point is, keep your Google!

Remember DOS? Remember how you had to know precisely what to type to get precisely the proper result? Now, along comes a GUI, which isn't perfect, but it tries to help you. It presents the most commonly used functions in a clear, understandable manner. It removes the techy requirements of the DOS command line and replaces those with friendly, albeit pre-picked, icons and visual metaphors.

Do you guys still not get it? The GUI? Hello?

Anyway, that's Mahalo. No, it won't pick you up on a Sunday and bubble sort your laundry. No, it won't let you do math equations from the search field. What it will do is find stuff for average users in an easier, more approachable way than a big, blank search field that begs to be gamed rather than grokked.

If you're still not getting it, I propose you hike down to a public library or school or senior center and get a whiff of what everyday people try to do on the web every day. You might be surprised.

I can't believe I'm evangelizing the Mac, uh, Mahalo, but there it is. I get frustrated when people say something is stupid or lame when what they are really saying is "I don't like they way broccoli tastes in MY mouth." Fine, spit it out.


Veronica said...

Wow, that was an awesome, awesome post. Good explanation!

JMay said...

Very well said... I am in full agreement.

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