Smart clocks really should be child’s play


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The theory behind the Groclock is sound, and we’ve had some success with it, but the interface is appalling. With just three buttons, you navigate through an always flashing menu that reminds me of setting the time on an old Casio watch. I’m never sure if I’ve set a time or I’m still in edit mode, and I have to reset the timer every single night, despite my daughter’s wake up time never changing.

Incredibly, the Groclock is a market leader with over a million units sold, rave reviews and countless awards. But for me it fails the most basic usability tests; it is a device I’m never quite sure is set correctly, and it needs to be set constantly.

Generally speaking, the user experience on technology aimed at the parents of babies and toddlers is woeful. The market is ripe for disruption, and the fact it hasn’t yet been disrupted by tech giants speaks volumes about the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley.

Lenovo could easily convert the Smart Clock into a Groclock killer, complete with voice controls, parental restrictions, and the ability to adjust nap times on the fly, with just a software update. I hope it does, parents are just too tired to fight through poorly designed user interfaces.



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