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Chapter 1. Riddles for the Information Age > The Origins of This Book

The Origins of This Book

I have been inventing and developing software-based products for 25 years. This problem of hard-to-use software has puzzled and confounded me for years. Finally, in 1992, I ceased all programming to devote 100% of my time to helping other development firms make their products easier to use. And a wonderful thing happened! I immediately discovered that after I freed myself from the demands of programming, I saw for the first time how powerful and compelling those demands were. Programming is such a difficult and absorbing task that it dominates all other considerations, including the concerns of the user. I could only see this after I had extricated myself from its grip.

Upon making this discovery, I began to see what influences drove software-based products to be so bad from the user's point of view. In 1995 I wrote a book[2] about what I had learned, and it has had a significant effect on the way some software is designed today.

[2] About Face: The Essentials of User Interface Design, IDG Books, Foster City CA, 1995, ISBN 1-56884-322-4, http://www.cooper.com. In March 2003, my coauthor Robert Reimann and I released a revised second edition of the book. It was completely rewritten, including updated examples and seven brand new chapters. It is called About Face 2.0: The Essentials of Interaction Design, John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 0-76452-641-3.


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