User Friendly: How the Hidden Rules of Design Are Changing the Way We Live, Work, and Play

MCD. Nov. 2019. 416p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780374279752. $28. TECH
User-friendly is a term that many people use, but few think about its meaning. Here, journalist and UX designer Kuang and designer Fabricant dive deep into the definition of the term as it relates to different technologies and their creators. User-friendly is defined here as technologies that “know” what the user wants or needs and are easy for them to master. The authors detail the evolution of technologies as user-friendly despite perils and setbacks throughout history. Biographical information about some of the creators gives insight into how and why technologies were designed, grounding readers in storytelling rather than in technological jargon. By the end of the book, readers will have a better understanding of the ubiquitous term. Those interested in the backgrounds of technologies such as self-driving cars, the Facebook Like button, and even transportation systems will be intrigued to learn about their evolution.
VERDICT Kuang and Fabricant offer accessible and thought-provoking insights into the ways that user-friendly design has influenced our lives, along with a contextual history of technology not available in many other books.
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