After reading the Inmates are Running the Asylum, by Alan Cooper, it’s very easy to see its influence on Bret Victor. Unfortunately, for the software industry, this book is as true in 1998 as it is today. My two takeaways were: Interaction Design, i.e. how humans interact with a product, is hard and if software engineers are left to design the product, it will lead to a frustrating experience.
The book is well worth a read to anyone who has experienced, as Cooper described, “Computer Tourettes.” For example, I have an extremely feature rich thermostat; it can do all sort of things like tell me the time, vary its temperature at different times of the day, and I’m sure other things. I still can’t figure out how to change the temperature setpoint RIGHT NOW. This is in contrast to my barometer, where I can simply compare the setpoint marker to the current pressure. I would much rather have the interface from my barometer on my thermostat.