User Friendly Is Just Easy to Use

While flipping around the dial (that’s what we used to say back in the good old days), I heard the host of a travel show tell a traveler that Italy is the most user-friendly country. A country is user friendly?

User friendly, a trendy term that is pretty useless as far as I’m concerned since we already have words to describe things that are easy to use—such as easy to use—means easy to use! The problem, in this case, is that a country cannot be easy to use. You don’t use a country. You travel there, you live there, you film a documentary there, you take a vacation there, you enjoy the scenery there, and you do lots of things there, but you don’t use it. You use its services, but you don’t use the country. I’m not even sure what she meant by saying that Italy is user friendly. Did she mean that Italians are friendly? Did she mean that the geography is such that it’s easy to find your way around? Did she mean that they have superior services for foreigners?

User friendly: a ridiculous term made even more ridiculous by people who don’t know how to use it.


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