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Alan Cooper

  • American businessman
  • Born June 3, 1952

Alan Cooper (born June 3, 1952) is an American software designer and programmer. Widely recognized as the “Father of Visual Basic", Cooper is also known for his books About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design and The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High-Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity. As founder of Cooper, a leading interaction design consultancy, he created the Goal-Directed design methodology and pioneered the use of personas as practical interaction design tools to create high-tech products.


I have a cell phone that doesn't behave like a phone: It behaves like a computer that makes calls. Computers are becoming an integral part of daily life. And if people don't start designing them to be more user-friendly, then an even larger part of the population is going to be left out of even more stuff.




We're building what I call 'software apartheid.' We're in the process of creating a divided society: those who can use technology on one side, and those who can't on the other. And it happens to divide neatly along economic lines.




If we want users to like our software, we should design it to behave like a likeable person.




E-mail is the most influential application ever to appear on a personal computer, and it remains sadly deficient.




The payoff of a customer-centric approach to software and digital product design is substantial and long-lasting for both companies and their customers.




There's a fundamental problem with how the software business does things. We're asking people who are masters of hard-edged technology to design the soft, human side of software as well. As a result, they make products that are really cool - if you happen to be a software engineer.




Reducing a product's definition to a list of features and functions ignores the real opportunity - orchestrating technological capability to serve human needs and goals.




What Microsoft is really good at is endlessly iterating and revving - incrementally improving things that already exist - and those things that already exist are generally acquired from the outside.




Design is not so much a design issue as a power struggle.




A lot of people think, and Microsoft is happy to let them think, that all great things are invented by Microsoft. In fact, very, very little has been invented by Microsoft.




I think the phrase 'computer-literate' is an evil phrase. You don't have to be 'automobile-literate' to get along in this world. You don't have to be 'telephone-literate.' Why should you have to be 'computer-literate'?



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