The Future Is Now

Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman

Been on an Amsterdam-San Francisco flight again, so more time to read. An excerpt from “The Design of Everyday Things”:

Would you like a pocket-size device that reminded you of each appointment and daily event? I would. I am waiting for the day when portable computers become small enough that I can keep one with me at all times. I will definitely put all my reminding burdens upon it. It has to be small. It has to be convenient to use. And it has to be relatively powerful, at least by today’s standards. It has to have a full, standard typewriter keyboard and a reasonably large display. It needs good graphics, because that makes a tremendous difference in usability, and a lot of memory —- a huge amount, actually. And it should be easy to hook up to the telephone; I need to connect it to my home and laboratory computers. Of course, it should be relatively inexpensive. What I ask for is not unreasonable. The technology I need is available today. It’s just that the full package has never been put together, partly because the cost in today’s world would be prohibitive. But it will exist in imperfect form in five e years, possibly in perfect form in ten.

Do you think what I think? I reckon that Donald A. Norman must be the owner of an iPhone. At least the quote above is a perfect description of today’s smartphones, in particular the iPhone which in my opinion is one of a kind both in design and usability. Now this book is first published in 1988, so Norman was ~10 years off, still funny to bump into, in the already quite interesting book.