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Part VII: Usable Objects > Coherent Objects

Chapter 48. Coherent Objects

What makes a thing easy to understand? What makes a thing easy to use? What is it about a collection of objects, not in isolation but arrayed in some context, that makes them into a practical set of tools? Consider the interconnected objects in a piece of software or the visual objects displayed on a graphical user interface. What makes them understandable? What makes them usable?

Anyone who has ever tried to cook in someone else's kitchen is familiar with the basic issues. It takes a few minutes to figure out where things are, and still you may have to inquire after the whereabouts of the vegetable peeler or the colander. Gradually, though, as you begin to locate the various collections, a certain logic is manifest, and soon you are managing quite well.


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