The “&” Series #1: Referees & Technology

Posted by on Jan 29, 2013 in views | No Comments

Recently I was watching football and because that particular game was really boring, my mind started entertaining itself and began conjuring up various analogies and metaphors that football brings to life.

One of the them made me chuckle and I realised that in the creative/advertising/design world, what we do applies so intimately to quite frankly, all facets of life. Simply because we are proxies to good, effective communication and design.

So I decided to start this series informally – I shall coin it rather unspectacularly “The & Series” (as in “life in general” & “advertising/communications” in general), and what I hope to do is share various analogies/metaphors (or ramblings, depending on your point of view and current mood!) in life that mimicks advertising or communications in general. I’m starting this series with football, of course, and more specifically, with the men in black that controls the beautiful game. And I’ll attempt to demonstrate what the performances of football referees have in common with the way technology should be used and applied.

So here’s kicking off this series with my very first rambling…

On Referees & Technology:

Have you ever watched a football game that flows beautifully with non-stop, end-to-end goalmouth action? Gorgeous isn’t it? Unfortunately, not all games are played this way. Often, the game’s disrupted by petty fouls. Referees have the discretion to keep the game flowing, and uses common sense to wave play-on if there’s any advantage in continuing play, and of course, address the foul later when there’s time for it.

Ironically, football referees are often doing the very best job when they are invisible to the audience during the game. The less the intervention, the smoother the game. The lesser he’s noticed, the greater his influence (try telling this to your boss!).

So what has a good referee got to do with technology? Well, both should be invisible to the audience.

Many times I’ve come across a mobile app or interface or web platform that’s intrusive, unintuitive and not user-friendly. Sometimes I suspect the technology was developed first before any user needs were identified. (It’s also one reason why Apple has been so successful in their design VS other engineering/technology powerhouses, but I’ll leave it as it is because that is another story/debate altogether).

Technology, in my view, should always take a back seat and not steal the limelight. It should enhance and faciliate our lives quietly in the background, not disrupt it. Just like a good referee.

What do you think?

I welcome any thoughts! And do share any analogies you have… I have a feeling it’s gonna be quite fun…

Meanwhile, if you think I’m not making any sense, you can always hit “quit”. After all, that’s what technology’s for. 🙂

Leave a Reply