Random snippets of articles, books, magazines, and websites that were striking at the time I read them.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

The Invisible Computer

One of the books that I'm currently reading is The Invisible Computer, by Donald Norman.

It puts forward the idea that the PC is too complex because we're trying to get it to do too many things. He suggests that future belongs to "information appliances" that are tailored to do specific tasks only, and in the process are much more friendly, much more usable, and bottomline, more human.

Here's one snippet that I particularly liked:
The technology is the relatively easy part to change. The difficult parts are social, organizational and cultural.

It's a great reminder that while it seems easier to ask people to change and adapt to a machine, we should still be focusing all our energies on designing machines that allows people to simply be people. After all, machines are predictable; people are not.

As an aside, the first Don Norman book that I had read was The Design of Everyday Things, which to this day still makes me smile when I fumble with an awkward door handle, or when I try to fix the settings in our kitchen refrigerator.


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