The Invisible Computer by Donald A. NormanI love Don Norman’s The Invisible Computer. It is packed with so many great ideas and observations that I cannot share them all with you without writing a book myself. So here are the basic points of the book.

  • The use of personal computers is just now breaking into the mainstream market.
  • Current computer users are early adopters of computing technology.
  • Current technology is way too complex, and it wastes our time and energy.
  • The personal computer is way too generally-purposed, and, as a result, it is not optimized for any given task.
  • The survivors in the tech market will need to balance technology, marketing, and usability in the product development process. Those that poorly executed their marketing early on lost market share.
  • The current standard development process is backwards; we should focus on human factors before actually “building” the physical product, not the other way around. To do this, a complete reorg of your company is required.
  • People are not machines, so our tech products must stop treating them as such.
  • Relatively simple information appliances are the solution.

The story Norman uses to set up his conclusion is wonderful. My list of bullet points does it no justice. Read it for a great insight into how we’ve gotten where we are in the world of technology and where we need to go next. Highly recommended.