- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Sams; 1 edition (March 23, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0672316498
- ISBN-13: 978-0672316494
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 196 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #629,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Inmates Are Running the Asylum 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
There is a newer edition of this item:
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
In this book about the darker side of technology's impact on our lives, Alan Cooper begins by explaining that unlike other devices throughout history, computers have a "meta function:" an unwanted, unforeseen option that users may accidentally invoke with what they thought was a normal keystroke. Cooper details many of these meta functions to explain his central thesis: programmers need to seriously reevaluate the many user-hostile concepts deeply embedded within the software development process.
Rather than provide users with a straightforward set of options, programmers often pile on the bells and whistles and ignore or deprioritize lingering bugs. For the average user, increased functionality is a great burden, adding to the recurrent chorus that plays, "computers are hard, mysterious, unwieldy things." (An average user, Cooper asserts, who doesn't think that way or who has memorized all the esoteric commands and now lords it over others, has simply been desensitized by too many years of badly designed software.)
Cooper's writing style is often overblown, with a pantheon of cutesy terminology (i.e., "dancing bearware") and insider back-patting. (When presenting software to Bill Gates, he reports that Gates replied: "How did you do that?" to which he writes, "I love stumping Bill!") More seriously, he is also unable to see beyond software development's importance--a sin he accuses programmers of throughout the book.
Even with that in mind, the central questions Cooper asks are too important to ignore: Are we making users happier? Are we improving the process by which they get work done? Are we making their work hours more effective? Cooper looks to programmers, business managers, and what he calls "interaction designers" to question current assumptions and mindsets. Plainly, he asserts that the goal of computer usage should be "not to make anyone feel stupid." Our distance from that goal reinforces the need to rethink entrenched priorities in software planning. --Jennifer Buckendorff
From the Back Cover
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 huge amounts of money, squander customer loyalty, and erode competitive advantage. They have let the inmates run the asylum. Alan Cooper 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.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
These shortcomings are not solved by adding a layer of another design person partially disconnected from the user, or making the screen prettier. It is by adapting the Extreme Programming/Agile programming methods of including the user in everything from design to testing, so the software reflects how the user does business.
I still liked the book, just not clear on the message.
I agree with the earlier reviewer, who said that the people most needing to read it probably won't. This would seem to be a great book for development managers and purchasers of software, but I think the only people likely to read the whole thing are professional developers.
I have two criticisms of the book (for which I give it 4 out of 5 stars): too often it comes across as an advertisement for the author's company; and I would have appreciated more "how-to" information. To this latter point, the author himself says in his preface that he had intended to write a "how-to" book, but was talked into writing a "business case" book instead. I hope that he will soon follow up this effort with the planned "how-to" book.
A final question -- what is with these 1 star reviews? I've read a few of them now, for different books, and I have to question whether the reviewer has even read the book. If so, they seem to have completely missed the point. At the very least, if giving a 1 star review, please provide some detailed criticisms so I can decide whether I am likely to share your opinion.