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Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Yellow Smiley Face

The short film below is from the Portable Film Festival site. It is a very good one and worth watching, even if you don’t speak Romanian (it is subtitled in English). It is a piece of life captured in a masterful way (I’ve uploaded it to because the Portable Film Festival site seems to be a little flaky – hopefully because they have huge traffic :-)).

Incidentally, this brings to mind an other thought: why Microsoft shoot themselves in the foot with the interface changes in Windows Vista / 7 and Office 2007 / 2010? Because, logical and intuitive as they might be, the wast majority of people in Romania (and I expect this to be true of most other non-English speaking countries) do not use the localized versions of computer software, even though they don’t speak English! What this means is that their knowledge level is exactly like it is depicted in the shortfilm: “I have to click the forth item in the third menu”. This means that any extensive overhaul of the GUI (like the one seen in MS Office 2007 and which are predicted for MS Office 2010) essentially wipes out all the knowledge these people (who represent 99% of the userbase in countries like Romania).

This means that these people will refuse to upgrade and will clinch even harder to Windows XP / Office 2003 than the companies in the US who don’t upgrade for “business reasons”. It also means that software packages like (or AbiWord) have a big chance to position themselves as a replacement to MS Office: they cost less and they have a familiar interface.

PS. Dear reader, if you are from outside of the USA, I would be interested to hear from you: is the situation similar in your country too?


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