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The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity (2nd Edition) by [Cooper, Alan]

The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity (2nd Edition) 2nd Edition, Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Product description

Amazon Review

In this book about the darker side of technology's impact on our lives, Alan Cooper begins by explaining that unlike other devices throughout history, computers have a "meta function": an unwanted, unforeseen option that users may accidentally invoke with what they thought was a normal keystroke. Cooper details many of these meta functions to explain his central thesis: programmers need to seriously re-evaluate the many user-hostile concepts deeply embedded within the software development process.

Rather than provide users with a straightforward set of options, programmers often pile on the bells and whistles and ignore or de-prioritise lingering bugs. For the average user, increased functionality is a great burden, adding to the recurrent chorus that plays: "computers are hard, mysterious, unwieldy things." (An average user, Cooper asserts, who doesn't think that way or who has memorised all the esoteric commands and now lords it over others, has simply been desensitised by too many years of badly designed software.)

Cooper's writing style is often overblown, with a pantheon of cutesy terminology (i.e. "dancing bearware") and insider back-patting. (When presenting software to Bill Gates, he reports that Gates replied: "How did you do that?" to which he writes: "I love stumping Bill!") More seriously, he is also unable to see beyond software development's importance--a sin he accuses programmers of throughout the book.

Even with that in mind, the central questions Cooper asks are too important to ignore: Are we making users happier? Are we improving the process by which they get work done? Are we making their work hours more effective? Cooper looks to programmers, business managers and what he calls "interaction designers" to question current assumptions and mindsets. Plainly, he asserts that the goal of computer usage should be "not to make anyone feel stupid." Our distance from that goal reinforces the need to rethink entrenched priorities in software planning. -- Jennifer Buckendorff, Amazon.com

Synopsis

The Inmates are Running the Asylum argues that, despite appearances, business executives are simply not the ones in control of the high-tech industry. They have inadvertently put programmers and engineers in charge, leading to products and processes that waste huge amounts of money, squander customer loyalty, and erode competitive advantage. They have let the inmates run the asylum. Alan Cooper offers a provocative, insightful and entertaining explanation of how talented people continuously design bad software-based products. More importantly, he uses his own work with companies big and small to show how to harness those talents to create products that will both thrill their users and grow the bottom line.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3562 KB
  • Print Length: 283 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Sams Publishing; 2 edition (24 Feb. 2004)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000OZ0N62
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #430,618 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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9 February 2018
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
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22 October 2005
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20 February 2007
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2 February 2004
Format: Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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31 December 2010
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12 September 2002
Format: Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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