The usability of infants

OK, so many of us have said our piece with regards usability, and have perhaps taken on the wisdom of Mark Pilgrim on accessibility, the work of Adrian Holovaty, and of course, good ole’ Jakob Nielsen. But how many of us have considered this I wonder?

Flexibility and Efficacy of Use 2. Use of the infant causes the user to conform to a fairly rigid schedule, and there are no known shortcuts for feeding, sleeping, and diaper buffer changing. Avoid buffer overflows at all costs, and beware of core dumps! While macros would be incredibly useful, infants do not come equipped with them. Macro programming can usually begin once the infant attains toddler status.

Taken from A Heuristic Evaluation of the Usability of Infants.

Food for thought indeed (my thanks go to erstwhile colleague Salv for the link).


  1. Don't forget the fact that you have to put them into "sleep mode" often otherwise they run erratically and their sound system make the most horrible noises.

    I have a two year old model.Ray J. Bilyk (aka The Lion King)#
  2. Yes, my three models vary in age. The older ones have some interesting quirks, but the newest is hardly the cleanest of implementations. The API seems more straighforward with experience though, that's for sure.Ben Poole#
  3. LOL :-D jonvon#
  4. More to the point, though, is how the infant experiences the usability of the parent(s)! The fact that rigid schedules, etc. are imposed on the grown-ups is immaterial to the infant, who cares most about being fed and change (dare I say it?) "On Demand".

    Isn't it the job of the parent(s) to provide the most usable environment for the infant possible? The infant's role is to consume care, not "be usable", no?Bob Balaban#

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