The care and feeding of users
Glorianna Davenport; Brian Bradley

IEEE Multimedia, vol. 4 issue 1, pg. 8 - 11.
Jan. - March, 1997.


As the technology matures, we face new lessons in frustration. One serious dilemma facing tool design is that, to be profitable, a tool must support the broadest possible diversity of users. This mindset has largely yielded dumb, monolithic, use-one-at-a-time tools. However, we are about to witness a profusion of complex tool systems wherein several autonomous tools simultaneously cooperate to assist you-in fact, they will probably compete ferociously among themselves for the privilege. The tools of the future will be intelligent, dynamically adaptive, customizable, and personalizable to a staggering degree. With experience, they will learn and grow and wear to fit the specific craftsman's hand. Their complex functionality will be deeply couched in metaphor or story, and their internal operations will be hidden from view, until demanded. The emergence of complex, semi-autonomous tools underscores the importance of building good model of the user into the box.

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