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The dumb furniture manifesto (06 Aug 2004)
Nobody needs to be told how to use the lounge chair. "Users" of any age, background, or degree of sophistication can immediately comprehend it: take it in, in almost all of its details, at a single glance. It is self-revealing to the point of transparency, and the same can be said of most domestic furniture: you lie on a bed, put books and DVDs and tchotckes on shelves, laptops and flowers and dinner on tables. Did anyone ever have to tell you this?

The same cannot be said of the iPod - which, remember, is one of the best-thought-out and comparatively simple digital artifacts ever developed, demonstrating market-leading insight into users and what they want to do with the things they buy. Take off your power user hat, try to imagine life without the chops you've earned over the course of your involvement with these complex artifacts, and you'll see that to people encountering an iPod for the first time it's not obvious what it does, or how to get it to do that. It may not even obvious how to turn the thing on.
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