Real users…

My dad (70 yrs) has finally gotten himself PocketPC including a GPS-based mapping application. He was rendering account on how the first week of using the gadget in his car was working out for him. Of course, he was using it on well-known routes first to see how it performs. The conversation went something like this:

Dad: "So I was using this thing to get me from Kandel (a town nearby) to Jockgrim (his hometown) and it was guiding me quite OK back to our house..."
Mom: "Well remember that it guided us through this very narrow street in Kandel where you can't even pass a cyclist..."
Dad: "...yes, this didn't make sense."
Me: "Maybe you set it to shortest route instead of fastest route and that's why it chose the narrow street?"
Dad: "I set it to shortest route, sure."
Me: "Shortest route isn't necessarily the fastest route..."
Dad: "Yes, sure. If I would have chosen fastest route it would have guided me right over the autobahn."
Mom: "...but it guided us through this very narrow street."
Me: "Yes, of course, because it is part of the shortest route..."
Mom: "...but this doesn't make sense. Nobody would use this lane..."
Dad: "Yes, it doesn't make sense. You can't even pass a cyclist in there."
Me: ...

Talk about a mismatch between user expectations (or the users model) and the software.

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