In Memoriam: Jef Raskin

User Experience Newsletter #5, March 2005

Dear Forum,

this month's newsletter is in memory of Jef Raskin. Last week he died peacefully at the age of 61.

Raskin is the father of the Apple Macintosh. In the 80s he developed the Canon Cat -- another wonderful little computer ahead of its times. For example, the Canon Cat had no on/off switch. The first hit to the keyboard was instantly switching on the computer and was interpreted at the same time as the first input to the user's document.

In 2000 Raskin published the book The Humane Interface with lots of ideas and examples how to improve the user interface. Darn, get rid of those file names! The content of a document is the best file name you can think of.
In variation of Isaac Asimov's first law of robotics, Jef Raskin writes the first law of interface design:

"Any system shall not harm your content or, through inaction, allow your content to come to harm."

Archy is his latest project (fka The THE project). It is an open source editor that implements the interaction design principles described in The Humane Interface. It will be continued under the technical leadership of his son Aza Raskin.

Jef Raskin and his fluteIt gave me very warm feelings, when I came across a movie where Jef was playing the flute. He had learned some tunes written for the alto flute, not knowing that his instrument is a bass flute. No one else could play the same tunes on a bass flute.

Time to think about live – work – and death.


à propos

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Jef Raskin’s First Law of Interface Design Explained by Jesper Rønn-Jensen