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Communications of the ACM

ACM Opinion

Can Silicon Valley Write Software For the 'normal'?

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interviewee in Times Square

This woman in Times Square said a browser is "a Web site you can search on, I think."

Credit: Google Inc.

Apple gets a fair amount of criticism for its supposed elitism, but Apple products reveal the opposite: they're made for normal people who generally don't obsess about technology. For all the beauty of its designs, the real reason Apple succeeds is simplicity. Apple takes complex technologies and makes them easy to use.

What's amazing is that Apple manages to do this from the heart of Silicon Valley, a place that lives and breathes technology and, hence, conveniently forgets that approximately no other human beings on the planet share this character trait.

Don't believe me? Check out this video from Google. Google went to New York's Times Square to ask people a very simple question: "What is a browser?" Less than 8 percent of those interviewed answered correctly.

Ignorant buffoons, right? Wrong. These people are simply "normal." It's the state of being in which technology is thought of as a tool to get things done, not as something to worship.

From CNet
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