Jef Raskin, co-creator of the Macintosh computer, has died.
In his writings and in person, Jef always impressed me by the depth and clarity of his thinking, and the passion that he brought to the business of making information systems less painful to use.
Of particular interest to me are Jef’s writings (in humane interface) on GOMS analysis and it’s relationship to Information Theory. Jef was able to show that by measuring the bits of information required by the user, and comparing them to the number and complexity of actions required by the user, you can determine the information efficiency of a user experience, thus giving a theoretical grounding to whether (and by how much) and interface can be improved. This approach is astoundingly useful when trying to determine where usability work will have the most impact.
His canon-cat inspired open source project always went over my head somehow. However, his humorous writing and his serious work on such diverse subjects as the math behind sailing and flying, politics in a post-9/11 era, and of course HCI were always a joy to read.
Rest in piece, Jef, there were few who played the game at your level.