The robots are here. They’re scanning shelves at your local supermarket, delivering food, and even assisting nurses in the hospital. As the robots begin to infiltrate human spaces, questions remain for designers and engineers tasked with convincing people to view them as approachable and friendly, rather than ignoring or avoiding them?
The name of the first programmer to ever code a popup window telling a user that they had made an error is undoubtedly lost to history, but the impact of that one simple choice resonates even today. That early coder, faced with the difficulty of building software set a dangerous and counter-productive precedent we as a community have internalized to our detriment.
It created an adversarial dichotomy between developer and user, based on the false assumption that such a thing as a “user error” exists. It does not.