An interesting bit off of the Reuters newswire:
> AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Half of all malfunctioning products that are
> returned stores by consumers work just fine, if only the customer knew
> how to operate the device, a scientist said on Monday.
> Such product complaints and returns are often caused by poor design,
> but companies often dismiss them as "nuisance calls," Elke den Ouden
> found in her thesis at the Technical University of Eindhoven in the
> south of Netherlands
> A wave of versatile electronics gadgets has flooded the market in
> recent years, ranging from MP3 players and home cinema sets to media
> centers and wireless audio systems, but consumers still find it hard
> to install and use them, she said.
> The average consumer in the United States will struggle for 20 minutes
> to get a device working, before giving up, the study found.
> Product developers, brought in to witness the struggles of average
> consumers, were astounded by the havoc they created.
> She also gave new products to a group of managers from consumer
> electronics company Philips, asking them to use them over the weekend.
> The managers returned frustrated because they could not get the
> devices to work properly.
> Most of the flaws found their origin in the first phase of the design
> process: product definition, Den Ouden found.
Heh. If only there were some way designers could get feedback earlier...