Friday 27 July 2018

The Inmates Are Running the Asylum, Book review

When I was offered a Product Analyst role, one of the first things that I did was to write a list of books.

New reads that should improve my knowledge about what and how and why and when about Product Management / Analysis / Owning / Whatever.

For some reason, this book resonated and I decided to give it a try, so here is my short overview.

This book was written by Alan Cooper in 1998, the same year that Microsoft released Windows 98, Valve released Half-Life and Blizzard released their first Starcraft.

So, given it was released three years before the Agile Manifesto, and the whole evolution that we had in software, I found myself following my curiosity about what has changed and what remains the same in 2018 while reading it.

Cooper was right in certain things, that the next revolution in software would be the usability revolution, 9 years before the first iPhone ever made.
He explains how the development process, (and the developers) are guiding the design of the user interface, and the reasons for this to be wrong.

The book explains why you should work on the design of the user interface before the coding starts, and why you should define your user personas before thinking in what the solution will be.

Yes, the examples are getting outdated, people don't really buy scanners anymore to scan pictures, but the problems of bad user interaction design, of making our users feel stupid and miserable, of believing users will understand something just because you can understand it, all those problems remain nowadays.

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