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Chapter 2. Cognitive Friction > How We React to Cognitive Friction

How We React to Cognitive Friction

Most people, even apologists, react to cognitive friction in the same way. They take the minimum they need from it and ignore the rest. Each user learns the smallest set of features that he needs to get his work done, and he abandons the rest. The apologists proudly point out that their wristwatches can synchronize with their desktop calendar systems, but they conveniently neglect to mention that it has been six months since they used that feature. They will get defensive about it if you press them on the point, but that is what makes them apologists.

My home-entertainment system has literally thousands of features. I'm not an apologist, but I certainly qualify as a gadget freak. I have learned how to use some of its gratuitous features, but they are too hard to use effectively. For example, my television has a feature called “picture-in-picture” (PIP). It superimposes a second, smaller screen showing another channel in the lower-right corner of the main screen. It is all done in software and can be completely controlled by buttons on the remote control. In theory, it is useful for such circumstances as keeping an eye on the football game in the PIP screen while I'm watching a movie on the main screen. When the salesperson demonstrated it to me in the electronics showroom, it seemed quite useful.


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