Mads Soegaard

If you expect a “user-friendly” introduction to usability and that the history of usability is full of well-defined concepts and lean methods, you’re in for a surprise. Usability is a messy, ill-defined, and downright confusing concept. The more you think about it—or practice it—the more confusing it becomes. We learned that the history of usability is a “perverse journey from simplicity to complexity”.
If we go far back in history, Vitruvius (1st century BC) was probably the first person to lay forth systematic and elaborated principles of design. His three core design principles became very influential:

  • Firmitas: The strength and durability of the design;
  • Utilitas: A design’s usefulness and suitability for the needs of its intended users;
  • Venustas: The beauty of the design.

2 thoughts on “Mads Soegaard

  1. shinichi Post author

    The History Of Usability: From Simplicity To Complexity

    by Mads Soegaard

    The story of usability is a perverse journey from simplicity to complexity. That’s right, from simplicity to complexitynot the other way around.


    The discipline of usability is also rooted in the discipline called Human Factors, which started as military personnel asked themselves the very morbid question:

    “What design do we need to kill more enemies through better matching soldier and weapon? And thus avoid getting killed ourselves.”


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