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The Inmates are Running the Asylum – Alan Cooper

Date: November 13, 1997
Speaker: 
Alan Cooper — Cooper Software, Inc.

Alan Cooper is called ‘The Father of Visual Basic’ for his invention of the visual programming interface that became the popular Microsoft product. He is the author of About Face: The Essentials of User Interface Design, published by IDG Books. Cooper’s other credits include Computer Associates’ SuperProject, and MicroPhone II for Windows. Cooper is a Director of both the Association for Software Design and the Software Forum. He now owns Cooper Software, Inc. with the unique philosophy of Goal-Directed Design, helping companies to design usable software.

In his landmark book, About Face: The Essentials of User Interface Design, Cooper questions some of the fundamental parts of the traditional windowed desktop environment. The book’s lighthearted text makes reading it easily accessible, while it offers sound user interface advice such as, “Don’t make the user look stupid.”

Alan Cooper

Alan Cooper, who wrote what became Microsoft’s Visual Basic, will speak in Portland about designing quality software user interfaces on Thursday, November 13th.

In his landmark book, About Face: The Essentials of User Interface Design, Cooper questions some of the fundamental parts of the traditional windowed desktop environment. For instance, he proposes that users neither be burdened with the organization of the file system, nor know that files are being saved at all. The book’s lighthearted text makes reading it easily accessible, while it offers sound user interface advice such as, “Don’t make the user look stupid.”

In 1987 Cooper envisioned a need for a shell-authoring tool for users of windowed operating systems. He proceeded to write a software package called Tripod. He rewrote the environment in 1990 under the code name Ruby and sold it to Microsoft. Microsoft added the QuickBasic engine and shipped Visual Basic 1.0.

Cooper’s other credits include Computer Associates’ SuperProject, and MicroPhone II for Windows. He is a Director of both the Association for Software Design and the Software Forum. Cooper now owns Cooper Software, Inc. with the unique philosophy of Goal-Directed Design, helping companies to design usable software.

The Computer Human Interaction Forum of Oregon (CHIFOO), a special interest group of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is sponsoring the talk.

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