Inmates Are Running the Asylum, The

Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity

Inmates Are Running the Asylum, The

Imagine, at a terrifyingly aggressive rate, everything you regularly use is being equipped with computer technology. Les mer
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Inmates Are Running the Asylum, The

Imagine, at a terrifyingly aggressive rate, everything you regularly use is being equipped with computer technology. Think about your phone, cameras, cars - everything - being automated and programmed by people who in their rush to accept the many benefits of the silicon chip, have abdicated their responsibility to make these products easy to use. The Inmates are Running the Asylum argues that, despite appearances, business executives are simply not the ones in control of the high-tech industry. They have inadvertently put programmers and engineers in charge, leading to products and processes that waste money, squander customer loyalty, and erode competitive advantage. Business executives have let the inmates run the asylum! In his book The Inmates Are Running the Asylum Alan Cooper calls for revolution - we need technology to work in the same way average people think - we need to restore the sanity. He offers a provocative, insightful and entertaining explanation of how talented people continuously design bad software-based products. More importantly, he uses his own work with companies big and small to show how to harness those talents to create products that will both thrill their users and grow the bottom line.

Foreword.
I. COMPUTER OBLITERACY.

1. Riddles for the Information Age.


What Do You Get When You Cross a Computer with an Airplane? What Do You Get When You Cross a Computer with a Camera? What Do You Get When You Cross a Computer with an Alarm Clock? What Do You Get When You Cross a Computer with a Car? What Do You Get When You Cross a Computer with a Bank? Computers Make It Easy to Get into Trouble. Commercial Software Suffers, Too. What Do You Get When You Cross a Computer with a Warship? Techno-Rage. An Industry in Denial. The Origins of This Book.

2. Cognitive Friction.


Behavior Unconnected to Physical Forces. Design Is a Big Word. The Relationship Between Programmers and Designers. Most Software Is Designed by Accident. "Interaction" Versus "Interface" Design. Why Software-Based Products Are Different. The Dancing Bear. The Cost of Features. Apologists and Survivors. How We React to Cognitive Friction. The Democratization of Consumer Power. Blaming the User. Software Apartheid.

II. IT COSTS YOU BIG TIME.

3. Wasting Money.


Deadline Management. What Does "Done" Look Like? Parkinson's Law. The Product That Never Ships. Shipping Late Doesn't Hurt. Feature-List Bargaining. Programmers Are in Control. Features Are Not Necessarily Good. Iteration and the Myth of the Unpredictable Market. The Hidden Costs of Bad Software. The Only Thing More Expensive Than Writing Software Is Writing Bad Software. Opportunity Cost. The Cost of Prototyping.

4. The Dancing Bear.


If It Were a Problem, Wouldn't It Have Been Solved by Now? Consumer Electronics Victim. How Email Programs Fail. How Scheduling Programs Fail. How Calendar Software Fails. Mass Web Hysteria. What's Wrong with Software? Software Forgets. Software Is Lazy. Software Is Parsimonious with Information. Software Is Inflexible. Software Blames Users. Software Won't Take Responsibility.

5. Customer Disloyalty.


Desirability. A Comparison. Time to Market.

III. EATING SOUP WITH A FORK.

6. The Inmates Are Running the Asylum.


Driving from the Backseat. Hatching a Catastrophe. Computers Versus Humans. Teaching Dogs to Be Cats.

7. Homo Logicus.


The Jetway Test. The Psychology of Computer Programmers. Programmers Trade Simplicity for Control. Programmers Exchange Success for Understanding. Programmers Focus on What Is Possible to the Exclusion of What Is Probable. Programmers Act Like Jocks.

8. An Obsolete Culture.


The Culture of Programming. Reusing Code. The Common Culture. Programming Culture at Microsoft. Cultural Isolation. Skin in the Game. Scarcity Thinking. The Process Is Dehumanizing, Not the Technology.

IV.

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