Penelope Rance

My UX research & design ramblings

Living without the internet (again)

This month we finally moved house after five months of organising. It was grand to be in and unpacking, but because the previous owner had Cable and we do not, we ended up living for six days without internet, TV, or phone and due to the rural location we do not have much mobile signal either.

First world problems right? And mostly this really was not an issue (after all we spent a month in New Zealand without any of these things). I would rather read a book or knit than watch TV and we could still watch DVDs. I did not need to phone anyone, and when we did we just went somewhere where we could get signal - quick trip to B&Q anyone?

Even the lack of internet was not that big a problem, except for those times when we just want to find something out because we were in a new area. When does the local diy shop close? Where is the nearest supermarket? Where is the best take away?

For us these were small inconveniences, but there was definitely relief when we were finally reconnected (although we are still without TV and I am not missing it).

But what about this new world where all our appliances are connected to the internet? What happens if you are unconnected for six days then? If your music is in the cloud or your fridge normally orders your food. My husband could not play his xbox game because it insisted it needed an internet connection even though he had saved it on the hard drive.

And what about something like the Amazon Echo? Its whole existence is connecting you to the internet.

Maybe some of our problem was our new rural location, but why should this stop me being interested in the best new technology the world has to offer? In some cases it is even more important in a location like this where there are not lots of people around to help if I need them or a corner shop or Starbucks on every corner.

The other issue I now face is all these companies who want to use 2 factor security authentication which require them sending a code to my phone. Now that I live in a place with a very weak mobile signal there can be quite a time lag between requesting the code and the code arriving. While I appreciate that security is an issue this can actually be quite a blocker. I will now be more careful before allowing my ipad to update, knowing that I will be asked for a code and will not be able to continue until it comes through.

I cannot help but feel that who ever came up with these users journeys was working in an office with a good internet connection and perfect mobile signal. It has not even crossed their mind that there are places where both these are in short supply or if they are maybe they have assumed that this is the desire of the person living there.

If technology continues as it has this past decade or so, the infrastructure really needs to be improved as a priority. So before we move on to the next big thing can we make sure we have a cross country infrastructure which allows everyone to access it?

It cannot be that hard, can it?

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