"No one noticed, they found, until the cords had lost an entire foot."
February 11, 2013 9:30 AM Subscribe
posted by spitefulcrow (32 comments total)
16 users marked this as a favorite
John E. Karlin, Bell Labs'
first behavioral psychologist and the father of human factors engineering, has died at the age of 94
"It is not so much that Mr. Karlin trained midcentury Americans how to use the telephone. It is, rather, that by studying the psychological capabilities and limitations of ordinary people, he trained the telephone, then a rapidly proliferating but still fairly novel technology, to assume optimal form for use by midcentury Americans."
And because it's too good of a pull quote to resist:
“One day I was at a cocktail party and I saw some people over in the corner,” Mr. Karlin recalled in a 2003 lecture. “They were obviously looking at me and talking about me. Finally a lady from this group came over and said, ‘Are you the John Karlin who is responsible for all-number dialing?’ ”
Mr. Karlin drew himself up with quiet pride.
“Yes, I am,” he replied.
“How does it feel,” his inquisitor asked, “to be the most hated man in America?”
An exhibit at the 1963 World's Fair introducing touch-tone dialing.
Another post with photos of competing designs for the touch-tone keypad.