Message from Dr. Donald Norman to
World Usability Day, Pune, 26 Nov. 2008
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Dr. Donald Norman (Benjamin Franklin Laureate)
Greetings to World Usability Day 2008, Pune
We are all the beneficiaries of technology, whether for the home, work, or school. New water supplies, new forms of medicine, new ways of learning and working. Even new ways of being entertained. The mobile phone has revolutionized the way we keep in touch with families and friends and are essential to business.
But if we cannot understand these new technologies, they are of little use. In fact, they are of negative value, for they cause anxiety, frustration, and even anger. The result may be disenchantment of all technology, which also means the inability to benefit from the real advances technology can bring.
India is a powerful force in the development of modern technologies. Indian companies are major forces in the world. Indians are often the leaders of modern technology companies. And India itself is a very complex environment, with many different languages, cultures, and social infrastructures. For the world, India provides a wonderful example both of the powerful potential and hope and of the massive difficulties we face.
I am delighted that India plays a large role in “World usability day,” for with its large size and educated citizens, India can lead the way for all countries. In India, with its different cultures, educational levels, and languages, good design is essential if the benefits of technology are to reach everyone. Moreover, by learning how best to serve its own citizens through technology, India will thereby lead the way for all nations in the development of technology. The technology of the developed nations has become bloated with needless features that raise the costs and frustrate people who try to use it. India is in a position to start over again, to demonstrate that more value can be had by doing less, just as the Tata Nano car demonstrates that one can have more with less.
I extend my greetings to all my colleagues in the effort to enhance people’s experiences with technology. I am grateful to the Department of Information Technology at Vishwakarma Institute of Information Technology (V.I.I.T.) for helping in the organization of World Usability Day and the full-fledged national Conference on Advances in Usability Engineering (CAUE 2008): this is an extremely important contribution.
So, to my many Indian friends, some now in India, some going to school I the United States, some residing in the United States, I say "lead the way.” India will gain: the whole world will gain.