As you know, we’re big on human-computer interaction here at Berkshire. “HCI” is a household term, and we fling it around all the time. And not just in relation to our wonderful Berkshire Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, and not always in tones of delight and calm appreciation.
In fact, when a new employee starts we seem to be guaranteed a bad computer day. (Yes, embarrassing!) Now there are some human reasons for this, but it’s also a fact of life in any business today and we treat computer glitches and breakdowns rather like weather, as acts of God. Sure, sometimes things go smoothly, but most of the time we’re bumping along in driving hats and long gloves in the equivalent of a Model T, racing at 20mph. The whole world of computing–of global connections via modern telecommunincation systems–is in early days.
Usability is the word I find on my lips all the time, and we’re preoccupied with finding new ways to make our content much, much more usable, the interfaces intuitive and friendly. And, most important, to ensure that our colleagues and customers know that behind the computer screen–ready to respond to email, phone calls, paper letters, and pings (that’s what a blog expert I just spoke to called my getting in touch: I’d apparently ‘pinged’ him)–is a team of human beings!