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[ba-unrev-talk] The Invisible Computer


The Invisible Computer    (02)

By Donald A Norman
Published By MIT Press    (03)

In The Invisible Computer, Donald Norman argues that "people are analog,
not digital, biological not mechanical.  It is time for a human centered
technology, a humane technology."  He believes the computer industry is
trapped by its own success, having to constantly produce faster more
complex products.  The result, he claims, is intrusive and over-bearing
technology.    (04)

Norman's answer to this is to start over again with simple information
appliances that are focused on the user.  Consequently, Norman argues
manufacturers must develop a new approach to developing products by
restructuring, changing processes and hiring people with human-centered
skills in addition to technology-centered ones.  The result, if we are to
take Normans word, is the "invisible computer" in which the technology
disappears and humans can then focus on activities, learning, and doing
their jobs.    (05)

Whether or not you agree with Norman, his arguments are well written and
easily understood.  He does raise some interesting arguments such as, that
"people should learn the task, not the technology."  I believe, though,
that  Norman is too idealistic, and as a result, his arguments can seem a
little unbalanced.  For example, he fails to acknowledge that
technology-focused companies have, and continue to make, very real
contributions to simplifying our lifestyles and work processes.    (06)

Overall, Norman's book, whilst both provocative and thoughtful, is too
one-sided and ultimately one is left interested but unconvinced.    (07)

You can order this book online by clicking here:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0262640414/theclientserverc    (08)