Aptly subtitled "New Directions for Designing Interactive Systems", The Humane Interface
is essentially an introduction to a new school of the craft of semiotics. Although the author doesn't use this specific term, The Human Interface
, the book explores the intelligent design of efficient signs and symbols for the "conversation" between man and computer. The book deals with many types of conceptual devices we use, both to find our way to a piece of data or program function, and to set parameters for searches or other commands, investigating the various strategies used, evaluating them and proposing new, more powerful yet less complicated interfaces.
The author introduces new tactics for communicating information, both inward to and outward from a computer--but does not confine this overview to computers. Also under inspection are leads and displays on digital tools such as the oscillograph and the dials of technological commonplaces like the VCR that graces your living room.
For the person who has never broached the subject this is a great introduction to a field that badly needs a shake-up, and in the meantime it delivers some well-placed blows. Replete with criticisms and case studies of bad examples (as if they were needed), this book offers real solutions for designers of tomorrow, demonstrating how fresh ideas can be applied to simplify yet simultaneously enhance the interface between people and digital machines. If you've spent a frustrating afternoon reassigning cable or satellite stations to desired channels with the woeful interface usually provided, you'll immediately see the practical value of this refreshing book. --Wilf Hey
From the Back Cover
"Deep thinking is rare in this field where most companies are glad to copy designs that were great back in the 1970s. The Humane Interface
is a gourmet dish from a master chef. Five mice!"
--Jakob Nielsen, Nielsen Norman Group
Author of Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity
This unique guide to interactive system design reflects the experience and vision of Jef Raskin, the creator of the Apple Macintosh. Other books may show how to use today's widgets and interface ideas effectively. Raskin, however, demonstrates that many current interface paradigms are dead ends, and that to make computers significantly easier to use requires new approaches. He explains how to effect desperately needed changes, offering a wealth of innovative and specific interface ideas for software designers, developers, and product managers.
The Apple Macintosh helped to introduce a previous revolution in computer interface design, drawing on the best available technology to establish many of the interface techniques and methods now universal in the computer industry. With this book, Raskin proves again both his farsightedness and his practicality. He also demonstrates how design ideas must be built on a scientific basis, presenting just enough cognitive psychology to link the interface of the future to the experimental evidence and to show why that interface will work.
Raskin observes that our honeymoon with digital technology is over: We are tired of having to learn huge, arcane programs to do even the simplest of tasks; we have had our fill of crashing computers; and we are fatigued by the continual pressure to upgrade. The Humane Interface delivers a way for computers, information appliances, and other technology-driven products to continue to advance in power and expand their range of applicability, while becoming free of the hassles and obscurities that plague present products.