20 Fabulous Alan Cooper Quotes

Alan Cooper is an American software designer and programmer. He is best known as being the “Father of Visual Basic.” With several books under his belt and an education received at the College of Marin, Cooper has achieved many professional successes during his lifetime. Here is a look at some of the most notable Alan Cooper quotes capturing his impact in the modern computing era.

“A powerful tool in the early stages of developing scenarios is to pretend the interface is magic.”

“Because computers have memories, we imagine that they must be something like our human memories, but that is simply not true. Computer memories work in a manner alien to human memories.”

“Computers no longer interface with humans–they interact, and the interaction will become steadily deeper, more subtle, and more crucial to our collective sanity and ultimate survival.”

“Define what the product will do before you design how the product will do it.”

“Design principle: Take things away until the design breaks, then put that last thing back in.”

“I just like so many different kinds of music that I like experimenting. I don’t want to keep making the same record over and over and over. I’m an ‘evolve or die’ kind of a musician. I think it’s cool to try new things.”


“I just try and learn to be a good husband and be a good father before I am a good rock star. That means saying no to certain things that go with the business.”

“If we want users to like our software we should design it to behave like a likable person: respectful, generous and helpful.”

“If you are not going to produce albums then you are not going to produce new fans. It’s impossible. I’m a huge believer in putting music out as quickly as early as possible, touring hard and then working on putting the next one out. I don’t need to break. I just need to put a record out.”

“Ironically, the thing that will likely make the least improvement in the ease of use of software-based products is new technology.”

“It has been said that the great scientific disciplines are examples of giants standing on the shoulders of other giants. It has also been said that the software industry is an example of midgets standing on the toes of other midgets.”

“It’s harder than you might think to squander millions of dollars, but a flawed software development process is a tool well suited to the job.”

“No matter how beautiful, no matter how cool your interface, it would be better if there were less of it.”

“Run for your lives-the computers are invading. Awesomely powerful computers tackling ever more important tasks with awkward, old-fashioned interfaces.”

“There’s only one thing you can use against pure logic, and that’s common sense.”

“Usability methods are like sandpapering a chair. If you are making a chair, the sandpaper can make it smoother. But no amount of sandpaper will turn a chair into a table.”

“We don’t fight about music. We don’t fight about artistic direction. The things like that we could fight about, we really don’t. We are pretty lucky for that.”

“We seem to be keeping old fans and are bringing on new fans that are teenagers. I think that is amazing. When I was a teenager, that was when I fell in love with music. It affected me in a deep way.”

“While making art you should just do what is in your heart.”

“You can get spiritual things out of books and stories and they have nothing to do with religion.”

Here is an amazing interview with Alan Cooper as he discusses the important of using personas when designing interfaces to best achieve your goals.

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