No Man Is An Island

No man is an island --- ?RonGoldman 28 Nov 2001

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As we live our lives we need to interact with many other people, both at work and at home. These interactions take many forms, such as face-to-face conversations, group meetings, phone calls and email exchanges.

In today's world many interactions are now remote ones, mediated through our technology. This technology can either enhance or degrade the interaction. Unfortunately technology usually gets in the way, making our interactions with others of poor quality.

Email is often described as the killer app for the Internet. People spend more time writing and reading email than any other internet activity. When one adds in instant messaging, online chats, and other forms of textual electronic communications, the people affected by the design of these systems is enormous. Most people when asked will complain quite vehemently about how poorly these programs suit their needs.


Design programs for textual electronic communications so that they are appropriate and humane. Make them support the rich ways that people actually interact. Each application must use appropriate methods to meet the human needs of its users.

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Build programs that support the human aspects of conversation-QualityOfConversations, that allow for GroupDiscussions, and that recognize that each person has their own WorkStyles for organizing their day as they shift tasks and move about. Be sure to apply the principles of InformationDisplayAndManagement. Also consider how these programs interact with other programs—MachineIssues.


Last edited December 24, 2002
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