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My Rules for Technology

We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.”  – Douglas Adams

In my 20-plus years of experience with computers and technology, I have learned to be wary of technology,particularly new technology. The more complex a technology is, the more ways it can fail. Not only is failure an option, it’s inevitable. At some point, it will fail. It’s not a matter of if it will fail but when.

  1. It must work as the user expects.
  2. It must perform its intended tasks in a logical and efficient manner from the user’s perspective.
  3. It must not make the tasks it performs more complex for the user.
  4. The user interface must be intuitive and as simple as possible.
  5. It must efficiently use resources such as memory and power.
  6. It must not be more complex than is necessary and be transparent to the user.
  7. It must be reliable and not prone to ‘planned obsolescence’.
  8. In the event it does fail, it should have meaningful error messages. “This error should never occur” is not meaningful.
  9. Its use must not cause additional stress and frustration for the user.
  10. It must not succumb to feature creep. Every feature should have a definite and pertinent purpose. A device that does one task well is better than a device that does many tasks poorly.


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