June 5, 2017
I recently read Alan Cooper’s book The Inmates Are Running the Asylum, which came out in the late 1990s. Cooper is known as the “Father of Visual Basic” and founder of Cooper, a San Francisco design consultancy. In his book, he takes a comprehensive look at software companies’ engineering-centric development processes and how they lead to unusable software. The book is a must-read for interaction designers.
For me, the most memorable part of the book is the chapter “Designing for Power,” in which Cooper discusses—among other interesting topics—why we should design human-like politeness into software. In this two part series of articles, I’ll discuss Cooper’s fourteen characteristics of polite software, providing relatable examples—both good and bad. I hope this approach to software design will be as helpful to you as it has been for me. Read More