The best thing to come out of this week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona has to be David Benjamin's account in
of a "blue-ribbon panel of human behavior and technology experts" struggling to understand the success of Apple's (aapl) iPhone.
You would have thought that the title of the panel -- It's the User Experience, Stupid -- would have told the experts all they needed to know.
And according to Benjamin the panelists did agree that the iPhone -- 77 percent of whose users described themselves in a market survey as "very satisfied" -- represented a model for other mobile handset makers to follow.
But the fun starts when they try to apply the lessons of Apple's success. Benjamin writes:
One direction, advocated by Lucia Predolin, international marketing and communications director for Buongiorno S.p.A. of Milan, Italy, is to manipulate users by identifying their "need states" — including such compulsions as "killing time," and "making the most of it" — and fulfilling them subliminally.
Adobe's [Anup] Murarka [director of technical marketing] proposed a more technological approach to improving the user experience, satisfying the mobile phone subscriber through better interface design.
Sarah Lipman, co-founder and R&D director for Power2B, suggested an almost mystical solution, somehow tapping into users' "neural networks" to navigate a mobile phone interface "using touch and pre-touch input." (link)
Lipman, to her credit, gets the money quote of the session:
For users, "the content is the core," said Lipman somewhat ruefully, "and we have to get out of their way."