2. the computer


What is the myth of the infinitely fast machine?

answer available for tutors only

The adverse effects of slow processing are made worse because the designers labour under the myth of the infinitely fast machine http://www.hcibook.com/alan/papers/hci87/. That is, they design and document their systems as if response will be immediate. Designers should plan explicitly for slow responses where these are possible. A good example, where buffering is clear and audible (if not visible) to the user, is telephones. Even if the user gets ahead of the telephone when entering a number, the tones can be heard as they are sent over the line. This type of serendipitous feedback should be emulated in other areas.

Other exercises in this chapter

ex.2.1 (open), ex.2.2 (tut), ex.2.3 (open), ex.2.4 (tut), ex.2.5 (tut), ex.2.6 (tut), ex.2.7 (ans), ex.2.8 (ans), ex.2.9 (open)

all exercises for this chapter