on human-centered personal computing

In my last post, I wrote:

So if there’s a major transition this industry needs to go through, it’s the shift from a box-centered view of personal computers, to a human-centered view of personal computing.

Folks, it’s 2012. I shouldn’t even have to say this, right? We all know that personal computing has undergone a radical redefinition, and is no longer something that can be delivered on a single device. Instead, personal computing is defined by a person’s path through a complex melange of physical, social and information contexts, mediated by a dynamic collection of portable, fixed and embedded digital devices and connected services.

‘Personal computing’ is what happens when you live your life in the connected world.

‘Human-centered’ means the central concern of personal technology is enabling benefits and value for people in their lives, across that messy, diverse range of devices, services, media and contexts. Note well, this is not the same as ‘customer-centered’ or ‘user-centered’, because customer and user are words that refer to individual products made by individual companies. Humans live in the diverse ecosystem of the connected world.

If you haven’t made the shift from designing PCs, phones and tablets to enabling human-centered personal computing, you’d better get going.


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One Response to “on human-centered personal computing”

  1. Gene says:

    On further reflection, I suppose there’s some long-term risk that by focusing on human-centricity I’m making a Ptolemaic error. Maybe at some point we’ll realize that information is the central concern of the universe, and we humans are just a particularly narcissistic arrangement of information quanta.

    For example, what if this guy is right?

    Until then, you still need to get going.