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The Inmates are Running the Asylum: Why High-tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity [Hardcover]

Alan Cooper
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Table of Contents


1. Riddles for the Information Age.

What Do You Get When You Cross a Computer with an Airplane? What Do You Get When You Cross a Computer with a Camera? What Do You Get When You Cross a Computer with an Alarm Clock? What Do You Get When You Cross a Computer with a Car? What Do You Get When You Cross a Computer with a Bank? Computers Make it Easy to Get into Trouble. Commercial Software Suffers, Too. What Do You Get When You Cross a Computer with a Warship? Techno-Rage. An Industry in Denial. The Origins of This Book.

2. Cognitive Friction.

Behavior Unconnected to Physical Forces. Design Is a Big Word. The Relationship Between Programmers and Designers. Most Software is Designed by Accident. “Interaction” Versus “Interface” Design. Why Software-Based Products are Different. The Dancing Bear. The Cost of Features. Apologists and Survivors. How We React to Cognitive Friction. The Democratization of Consumer Power. Blaming the User. Software Apartheid.


3. Wasting Money.

Deadline Management. What Does “Done” Look Like? Parkinson's Law. The Product That Never Ships. Shipping Late Doesn't Hurt. Feature List Bargaining. Programmers Are in Control. Features Are Not Necessarily Good. Iteration and the Myth of the Unpredictable Market. The Hidden Costs of Bad Software. The Only Thing More Expensive Than Writing Software is Writing Bad Software. Opportunity Cost. The Cost of Prototyping.

4. The Dancing Bear.

If it Were a Problem, Wouldn't It Have Been Solved by Now? Consumer Electronics Victim. How Email Programs Fail. How Scheduling Programs Fail. How Calendar Software Fails. Mass Web Hysteria. What's Wrong with Software? Software Forgets. Software is Lazy. Software is Parsimonious with Information. Software is Inflexible. Software Blames Users. Software Won't Take Responsibility.

5. Customer Disloyalty.

Desirability. A Comparison. Time to Market.


6. The Inmates are Running the Asylum.

Driving from the Backseat. Hatching a Catastrophe. Computers Versus Humans. Teaching Dogs to Be Cats.

7. Homo Logicus.

The Jetway Test. The Psychology of Computer Programmers. Programmers Trade Simplicity for Control. Programmers Exchange Success for Understanding. Programmers Focus on What is Possible to the Exclusion of What is Probable. Programmers Act Like Jocks.

8. An Obsolete Culture.

The Culture of Programming. Reusing Code. The Common Culture. Programming Culture at Microsoft. Cultural Isolation. Skin in the Game. Scarcity Thinking. The Process is Dehumanizing, Not the Technology.


9. Designing for Pleasure.

Personas. Design for Just One Person. The Roll-Aboard Suitcase and Sticky Notes. The Elastic User. Be Specific. Hypothetical. Precision, Not Accuracy. A Realistic Look at Skill Levels. Personas End Feature Debates. Both Designers and Programmers Need Personas. It's a User Persona, Not a Buyer Persona. The Cast of Characters. Primary Personas. Case Study: Sony Trans Com's Passport. The Conventional Solution. Personas. Designing for Clevis.

10. Designing for Power.

Goals are the Reason Why We Perform Tasks. Tasks Are Not Goals. Programmers Do Task-Directed Design. Goal-Directed Design. Goal-Directed Television News. Goal-Directed Classroom Management. Personal and Practical Goals. The Principle of Commensurate Effort. Personal Goals. Corporate Goals Practical Goals. False Goals. Computers Are Human, Too. Designing for Politeness. What is Polite? What Makes Software Polite? Polite Software is Interested in Me. Polite Software is Deferential to Me. Polite Software is Forthcoming. Polite Software has Common Sense. Polite Software Anticipates My Needs. Polite Software is Responsive. Polite Software is Taciturn About its Personal Problems. Polite Software is Well Informed. Polite Software is Perceptive. Polite Software is Self-Confident. Polite Software Stays Focused. Polite Software is Fudgable. Polite Software Gives Instant Gratification. Polite Software is Trustworthy. Case Study: Elemental Drumbeat. The Investigation. Who Serves Whom. The Design. Pushback. Other Issues.

11. Designing for People.

Scenarios. Daily Use Scenarios. Necessary Use Scenarios. Edge Case Scenario. Inflecting the Interface. Perpetual Intermediates. Pretend it's Magic. Vocabulary. Breaking Through with Language. Reality Bats Last. Case Study: Logitech Scanman. Malcolm, the Web-Warrior. Chad Marchetti, Boy. Magnum, DPI. Playing Pretend It's Magic. World-Class Cropping. World-Class Image Resize. World-Class Image Reorient. World-Class Results. Bridging Hardware and Software. Less is More.


12. Desperately Seeking Usability.

The Timing. User Testing. User Testing Before Programming. Fitting Usability Testing into the Process. Multidisciplinary Teams. Programmers Designing. How Do You Know? Style Guides. Conflict of Interest. Focus Groups. Visual Design. Industrial Design. Cool New Technology. Iteration.

13. A Managed Process.

Who Really Has the Most Influence? The Customer-Driven Death Spiral. Conceptual Integrity is a Core Competence. A Faustian Bargain. Taking a Longer View. Taking Responsibility. Taking Time. Taking Control. Finding Bedrock. Knowing Where to Cut. Making Movies. The Deal. Document Design to Get it Built. Design Affects the Code. Design Documents Benefit Programmers. Design Documents Benefit Marketing. Design Documents Help Documenters and Tech Support. Design Documents Help Managers. Design Documents Benefit the Whole Company. Who Owns Product Quality? Creating a Design-Friendly Process. Where Interaction Designers Come From. Building Design Teams.

14. Power and Pleasure.

An Example of a Well-Run Project. A Company-Wide Awareness of Design. Benefits of Change. Let Them Eat Cake. Changing the Process.


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