The Inmates Are Running the Asylum Quotes

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The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity by Alan Cooper
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The Inmates Are Running the Asylum Quotes (showing 1-30 of 42)
“In all other construction disciplines, engineers plan a construction strategy that craftmen execute. Engineers don't build bridges; ironworkers do. Only in software is the engineer tasked with actually building the product. Only in software is the "ironworker" tasked with determining how the product will be constructed.”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“The real interaction designer's decisions are based on what the user is trying to achieve.”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“Like putting an Armani suit on Attila the Hun, interface design only tells how to dress up an existing behavior.”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“To deliver both power and pleasure to users, interaction designers think first conceptually, then in terms of behavior, and last in terms of interface.”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“All modern manufacturing disciplines have roots in preindustry except software, whose unique medium appeared well after industrialization was a fait accompli. Only programming comes directly from academia, where there are no time limits on research, student power is dirt cheap, profit is against the rules, and a failing program can be considered a very successful experiment. It's not a coincidence that Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, and other leading software companies reside in "campuses." Universities never have to make money, hit deadlines, or build desirable, useful products.”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“The fact that these measures are objective is reassuring to everyone. Objective and quantitative measure is highly respected by both programmers and businesspeople. The fact that these measures are usually ineffective in producing successful products tends to get lost in the shuffle.”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“You can predict which features in any new technology will be used and which won't. The use of a feature is inversely proportional to the amount of interaction needed to control”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“Most software is used in a business context, so most victims of bad interaction are paid for their suffering. Their job forces them to use software, so they cannot choose not to use it—they can only tolerate it as well as they can. They are forced to submerge their frustration and to ignore the embarrassment they feel when the software makes them feel stupid.”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“Generally, programmers aren't thrilled about the iterative method because it means extra work for them. Typically, it's managers new to technology who like the iterative process because it relieves them of having to perform rigorous planning, thinking, and product due diligence”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“You can blame the "stupid user" all you want, but you still have to staff those phones with expensive tech-support people if you want to sell or distribute within your company software that hasn't been designed.”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“For example, many software dynasties have been established on the backs of very young, very inexperienced programmers. They were likely given a free hand with programming issues, and the pairing of immense responsibility with immense authority can often be a crucible for creating greatness. The same forces apply in interaction design. If someone is given the responsibility for product quality, and she is given authority equal to it, she will often rise to the challenge regardless of her experience. If you take a suitable person and give her full control over the quality and behavior of a product, you will have a much, much better product than if you don't.”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“There is a lot of obsessive behavior in Silicon Valley about time to market. It is frequently asserted that shipping a product right now is far better than shipping it later.”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“The biggest drawback, of course, is that you immediately scare away all survivors, and your only remaining users will be apologists. This seriously skews the nature and quality of your feedback, condemning you to a clientele of technoid apologists, which is a relatively small segment. This is one reason why so few personal-computer software-product makers have successfully crossed over into mass markets.”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“The Only Thing More Expensive Than Writing Software Is Writing Bad Software”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“Sort of like the pilot saying, "We're gonna make Chicago on time, but only if we jettison all our baggage!" I've seen product managers sacrifice not only design, but testing, function, features, integration, documentation, and reality. Most product managers that I have worked with would rather ship a failure on time than risk going late.”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“Product successes and failures have shown repeatedly that users don't care that much about features. Users only care about achieving their goals.”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“The obnoxious behavior and obscure interaction that software-based products exhibit is institutionalizing what I call "software apartheid":”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“In September 1997, while conducting fleet maneuvers in the Atlantic, the USS Yorktown, one of the Navy's new Aegis guided-missile cruisers, stopped dead in the water. A Navy technician, while calibrating an on-board fuel valve, entered a zero into one of the shipboard management computers, a Pentium Pro running Windows NT. The program attempted to divide another number by that zero—a mathematically undefined operation—which resulted in a complete crash of the entire shipboard control system.”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“Because the software-creation process is out of control, the high-tech industry must bring its process to heel, or else it will continue to put the blame on ordinary users while ever-bigger machines sit dead in the water.”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“Software experts are—of necessity—comfortable with high-cognitive-friction interaction. They pride themselves on their ability to work in spite of its adversity. Normal humans, who are the new users of these products, lack the expertise to judge whether this cognitive friction is avoidable.”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“When programmers speak of "computer literacy," they are drawing red lines around ethnic groups, too, yet few have pointed this out.”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“The time it will take to finish a programming project is twice as long as the time you've allotted for it.”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“In all other construction disciplines, engineers plan a construction strategy that craftsmen execute. Engineers don't build bridges; ironworkers do. Only in software is the engineer tasked with actually building the product. Only in software is the "ironworker" tasked with determining how the product will be constructed. Only in software are these two tasks performed concurrently instead of sequentially. But companies that build software seem totally unaware of the anomaly.”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“Writing software is not a variable cost, but it's not really a fixed cost either. Writing software is an ongoing, revenue-generating operation of the company, and it is not the same as constructing a factory. The expensive craftsmen who build the factory leave and go to work on some other job after the building is erected.”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“When today's executives regard programming the same as manufacturing, they imagine that reducing the cost of programming is similarly simple and effective. Unfortunately, those rules don't apply anymore.”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“What's more, the only available economic upside comes from making your product or service more desirable by improving its quality, and you can't do that by reducing the money you spend designing or programming”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“It's cheaper to put an entire microprocessor in your car key, microwave, or cell phone than it is to put in discrete chips and electronic components. Thus, a new technical economy drives the design of the product.”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“Homo logicus are driven by an irresistible desire to understand how things work. By contrast, Homo sapiens have a strong desire for success. Programmers also want to succeed, but they will frequently accept failure as the price to pay for understanding.”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“High cognitive friction polarizes people into two groups. It either makes them feel frustrated and stupid for failing, or giddy with power at overcoming the extreme difficulty. These powerful emotions force people into being either an "apologist" or a "survivor." They either adopt cognitive friction as a lifestyle, or they go underground and accept it as a necessary evil. The polarization is growing acute.”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
“One of my colleagues in the cellular-telephone business was complaining about how the engineers had made cell phones hard to use by packing in so many rarely used features. She said that cell phones were "wet dogs." When I inquired about her metaphor, she explained, "You have to really love a wet dog a lot to want to carry it around.”
Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity

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