Who put the ram in the ramalamadingdong?

This is a plea for user-centric design. A call for easy-to-use technology. For simple applications with clean GUIs. For PowerPoint slides that care more about their viewers’ experience than about their presenter’s ego.

Last night I was called in by a neighbor to help her fix a problem with the doorbell. Actually, the wiring problem was quickly fixed. But when she asked me if I could also change the annoying bell sound  ―a long and loud bong-bong-dong-ding-ding-bong-bong-dong-ding-ding chime, as warped hourly by the Big Ben in London― I came to a stunning observation.


The questioned doorbell device was preloaded with a series of 20 merry melodies, ranging from Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca, over Rossini’s infamous William Tell Overture, up to an almost-a-minute-long recital of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ode to Joy (at that moment I also realized that joy is a subjective term). But… there was no simple bell chime inside. No dingdong. Not even an old fashioned riiiing.

So, here’s my advice to all doorbell makers, product engineers, GUI designers and PowerPoint authors: keep your creations simple and sweet. Don’t over-design and don’t over-implement. Most doorbell consumers, including me, are happy with a plain dingdong and don’t need a loud and excessive ramalamadingdong.