Are technologists trying to solve the wrong problem?

Technologists have for centuries tried to automate human capabilities, said EffectiveUI Co-Founder and President Anthony Franco at Gigaom’s Roadmap conference in San Francisco Tuesday. But in that process, they have lost touch with humanity. “Our industry must abandon its desire to mechanize people by relegating them as users,” he said, arguing that it was instead time to make technology easier to use.

To make its case for a more human take on tech, Franco’s company recently conducted a survey to find out more about how the average consumer experiences technology. Turns out, most people have a very different take on tech than the industry that builds these products.

One example: Within the industry, 98 percent perceive themselves as “relatively sophisticated” with regards to technology. Among most people, only 21 percent would call themselves relatively sophisticated. Even more striking: 87 percent of people say they have bad feelings about a company if they have a bad experience on their website.

So how does one make technology more human? Franco admitted that there are no easy answers. “We don’t know how to do this, we are still novices at this,” he said, but added that EffectiveUI wants to tap into the wisdom of the crowd with a new platform called “Our legacy will be written by the interfaces we create,” Franco said.

Check out the rest of our Roadmap 2013 coverage here, and a video embed of the session follows below:

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A transcription of the video follows on the next page