Design is all about context. When that contextual information is removed, products can be very confusing. As designers we often see this when people are introduced to a new technology that is manifested in a design that breaks so strongly with tradition that they don't know how to use it. We often try to build in affordances that allow them to relate their current technology to their new technology. Think of how the play button from your Walkman went straight to you Discman, then to your iPod, and as a digtal button on interfaces.
Of course the opposite is true as well. I recently heard of a grade school child coming across a old corded telephone in a junk shop and exclaiming to her parent "look, this way you won't loose your phone!" ... not realizing it was a necessary part of the technology. I haven't seen it more well demonstrated or in a cuter form, than the above video! Enjoy a little Friday laugh at what todays kids think of your Gameboy you oldsters!
Thanks to ineo in the discussions forums for the tip!
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