Set Phasers on Stun: & Other True Tales of Design, Technology, & Human Error / Edition 2 available in Hardcover
A disturbing share of technological disasters are caused by incompatibilities between the way things are designed and the way people actually perceive, think, and act. Structurally sound aircraft plummet to the earth, supertankers run aground in calm weather, and the machines of medical science maim unsuspecting patients - - all because designers sometimes fail to reflect the characteristics of the user in their designs. Designers and the public alike are realizing that many human' errors are more aptly named designed-induced' errors. Most consumers experience the frustration of using many new products; amusing stories about programming a VCR, operating a personal computer, or finding the headlight switch on a rental car are heard in everyday conversation. The problems consumers experience with modern everyday things are shared by the users of large-scale technologies where the consequences of design can go well beyond simple matters of inconvenience or amusement. In the new second edition of Set Phasers on Stun' and Other True Tales of Design, Technology, and Human Error, noted designer and author Steven Casey has assembled 20 factual and arresting stories about people and their attempts to use modern technological creations. Although the operator or pilot usually gets blamed for a big disaster, the root cause can frequently be found in subtle characteristics of the device's human interface.' Technological disasters can often be traced directly to the interplay between people and the design of a device - - be it an airliner cockpit, the controls in an industrial plant, a spacecraft's instruments, a medical system, a nuclear reactor, or even a commercial dishwashing machine. The most effective way to convey the consequences of design-induced human error is with a good story and just the right level of technical detail, and this is what Casey has done in his new book. As stated by Alphonse Chapanis, one of the founders of the huma
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book presents the ultimate argument for consideration of one's users in the design of life-critical technology--stories about how people have died (or in a few cases millions of dollars have been lost) as a result of poor technology design. While the case studies in this book are brief to the point of sketches, the point of each story is very clear, and the book as a whole stands as a lesson to those of us engaged in any kind of technology design.
I read this book in collage and I still refer back to it when giving examples to people why they should consider changing a design. The book is a fast read. After every chapter I couldn't wait to go on to the next horrifying example.