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Charlie Kreitzberg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mon, 10 Mar 1997 23:35:48 -0500
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 An Open Letter to the HCI Community
Charles B. Kreitzberg
Cognetics Corporation

I became involved with computers in 1964 and it was an instant love
affair.  Since then I have watched with awe and excitement as computers
evolved into a world-wide network and become the core of the modern
corporation.  But I am also frustrated.  Despite our best efforts, the
day to day experience of the user is still painful.  Everyone struggles
with computers: you, me, computer professionals and non-technical users
alike.  We waste time and money.  Projects fail.  Users feel stupid.
Its time to raise our voices.

If the principles of user-centered design were universally accepted, the

state of computing would be much improved.  Imagine if every software
development effort began with careful user-centered participatory
design.  Imagine if every software product were usability tested.
Imagine if help really helped.

The reality is that most software development projects are chaotic.
Usability professionals are brought in far too late in development and
we play too peripheral a role in design.  A 1995 study by the Standish
Group found that only 10-20% of software projects were successful.  The
cost is a staggering loss of $80 billion annually.  The IRS recently
announced that it had wasted $4 billion in software development and
would have to start from scratch.  The INA announced last month that it
had wasted $2 billion.  Perhaps user-centered design would not eliminate

all the problems but it would make a big dent in it,

I am launching the Lucid Computing Movement to make our case to
business.  I ask for your support.  The word lucid means "clear" and
"understandable," this is the goal we set for all software.

The Lucid Computing Movement is an affinity group.  There are no dues
and no structure.  But by getting together we will speak loudly and with

authority.  Our goal is to educate the software development community
about the value of user-centered design.  The Lucid Computing Movement
is an outreach program.  We will use the media to reach CEO's. CIO's and

software engineers.    We will maintain a web site of resources on
user-centered design so that those interested can find the support they
need to integrate usability into their development efforts.

We need this effort because we have not yet been effective in making our

case to industry.  The Lucid Computing Movement will work with SIGCHI,
UPA and other professional groups to the extent that we can engage
them.  We will not duplicate existing efforts.  But the truth is that
many existing resources (conferences, publications, listserves and web
sites) are more focused on the HCI community than the business
community.  The Lucid Computing Movement will present our case in
practical terms to the business community.

Please join with me.

I have been holding conversations with the media and they are receptive
to our case.  But they want examples of how user-centered design has
been effective.

I have established a web site at  It has much
potential to grow.  Please visit it and look around.  I would appreciate

it if you could leave a comment.  Having many comments posted will be an

important part of our credibility as we make our case to the media.
They will want to see many points of view.

We need case studies of success stories.  If you have one, please send
it to me and I'll post it on the web site.

If you have a training course, have written a book, have conducted an
interesting study, please let me know so I can post it.

If you are interested in working with me on this and will be at SIGCHI,
please let me know,  I plan to set up a couple of times when we can get
together as a group and talk.   A last minute lunch at the NIST UE2
conference last week was both productive and encouraging.

I do not yet have a complete buttoned-up program (although I have a
number of ideas).  I want the Lucid Computing Movement to be shaped by
all of us.   As we talk and share our vision, the program will take

I hope you will join me.  And if you have colleagues whom you think
would be interested, please forward them a copy of this letter,

Charles B. Kreitzberg
Cognetics Corporation
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[Note: I am sending this letter to several listserves and my personal
mailing list.  I apologize to anyone who might receive multiple copies -