Thursday, June 30th, 2011
The discussion was lively, and as constructive as it was critical. The most interesting part of the evening centered around Weiser’s article, “The Computer for the 21st Century,” where, in 1991, Weiser predicted with incredible accuracy the creation of what we know today as the iPhone and iPad. As impressive as his predictions are, they proved to have flaws (most notably that these devices would be easily disposable), and we spent time picking apart exactly why his predictions fell short, eventually agreeing that Weisner had severely over-estimated the rate at which culture changes when making his predictions. Johnson-Laird’s “Mental Models, Deductive Reasoning, and The Brain” and Meadow’s “Places to Intervene in a System,” meanwhile, both served as nice, theoretical counterpoints to the other articles and provided us with different frames of reference from which to design.
Before the meetup, Saffer tweeted “I really hate [one] of the articles I picked out for this month’s @uxbookclubsf” and at the meetup accurately summarized Alben’s article with a single word: quaint. This itself is telling of the progress we’ve made in the past fifteen years: we can safely dismiss an article that champions empathy and getting out of our ivory towers and interacting with “real people” as quaint. Now all that’s left is convincing clients that they don’t know their customers as well as they think they do. Hopefully that won’t take another fifteen years.
Next month, we are reading Rushkoff’s Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commandments for a Digital Age. The meetup will be held on July 20th, location TBD. Space is limited, so make sure to sign up early.
In case you missed any of these articles, you can find them all below:
Mark Weiser – The Computer for the 21st Century (1991)
Jef Raskin – Intuitive Equals Familiar (1994)
Philip Johnson-Laird – Mental Models, Deductive Reasoning, and The Brain (1995)
Lauralee Alben – At the Heart of Interaction Design (1996)
Donella H. Meadows – Places to Intervene in a System (1997)
Brian Eno – The Revenge of the Intuitive (1999)