I've admired Jef Raskin for years. For those who don't know, he is the "Father of the Macintosh," one of the original geniuses who guided the Mac in the early days. But, more than a computer scientist, Raskin is a cognitive psychologist. He studies how the brain works with special emphasis on how that relates to us using computers. His magnum opus was the Canon Cat, which was an excellent and well-thought-out little computer.
In The Humane Interface, Raskin goes into detail describing how computers can be made easier to understand and use. Ever want to know why you really don't like Windows? The answer is in this book. In fact, there's so much in this book that makes sense, I really want to send a copy to every employee at Microsoft.
I loved reading this book and nodding my head in rabid agreement. Raskin states, "There has never been any technical reason for a computer to take more than a few seconds to begin operation when it is turned on." So why then does Windows (or Linux!) take so darn long to start up? The PalmPilot is on instantly, as is your cell phone. But for some reason, we tolerate the computer taking a few eons to start. (And until consumers complain about it, things won't change.)
Computers can be easy to use, and the people who design them and design software need to read this book. Do you ever get the impression that the person who designed a piece of software must have come from the same company that designed the front panel on your VCR? Why should you have to double-click anything? What does Ctrl+D mean one thing in one program and a completely different thing in another? And what's the point of the Yes/No confirmation if the user is in the habit of clicking Yes without thinking about it? Raskin neatly probes all these areas.
While I admire everything Raskin has to say, the book is pretty heavy on the psychology end. Myself, I enjoy cognitive psychology (especially books by Raskin's cohort Donald Norman), though some may find that part of the book boring. Even so, Raskin builds and backs his argument in a most eloquent and scientific manner. Especially if you design software or need to teach or train people to use computers, this book deserves a spot on your shelf. --Dan Gookin
This 'new' book arrived with 6 price tags stuck on top of one another and worn corners. Had obviously been 'passed around' more than a little before Amazon found a buyer. Read morePublished on Dec 24 2011 by Lee
I do not know who edits books on interface design but all too often the books are more about "look at how great I am" than thoughtful insights. Read morePublished on June 17 2004 by M. Sloan
I scoured numerous texts to support a college seminar course in human/computer interaction design. My hunches led me to select this book from among many other excellent books. Read morePublished on May 13 2004 by James O. Coplien
This book provides some simple rules to apply to almost any situation in interaction design. Like Design Patterns, it's very text-editor-centric. Read morePublished on Dec 24 2003 by Amazon Customer
At first, I was really disappointed with this book. The "thick" writing style hides the presentation of straightforward concepts in long paragraphs and dense text. Read morePublished on May 10 2003 by Corey Thompson
The positive reviews cover the positive side of this book.
1) The distinction of noun-verb vs. Read more
I read this book hoping for some insight into good design. I expected a pragmatic, psychology based perspective on users and technical design. Read morePublished on Jan. 30 2003 by GraceAnne
I can recommend this book wholeheartedly to anyone involved with information technology. Raskin offers a considered and analytical approach to what really makes a good interface. Read morePublished on Dec 17 2002 by WS