Cover by Donald Norman

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CHAPTER FOUR

KNOWING WHATTO DO

images “Q. I read a news item about a new videotape-only player and rejoiced when the writer took a healthy swipe at the incomprehensible instructions that accompany VCRs. I can’t even set the time of day on mine!

“There are many consumers out here like me—thwarted by an unfathomable machine and baffled by senseless instructions.

“Is there anyone, anywhere who will translate OR give a short course in VCR at play school level?”1

Video cassette recorders—VCRs—can be frightening to people who are unfamiliar with them. Indeed, the number of options, buttons, controls, displays, and possible courses of action is formidable. ...

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