Why are computers hard?

Most of the time, when teaching, our difficulty is not what you expect.

Initial reading

Read the following:

Of each of the points made, how many are related to:

  • The computing itself

  • The user interface

  • The ability of the user to work in the computing environment

  • Something else


As said in the text above:

Most user interfaces are terrible. When people make mistakes it’s usually the fault of the interface. You’ve forgotten how many ways you’ve learned to adapt to bad interfaces. You’ve forgotten how many things you once assumed that the interface would be able to do for you.

Deep abstraction layers

Most technology is built on abstraction layers, for good reason. They help simplify implementation and understanding.


Think of a tool or technology that is easy to understand and use if you understand the underlying abstraction layers, but is almost impossible otherwise.

Conclusion: what are we teaching, then?

As teachers of computing, we fill a critical role that is more determined by our audience, than the technology we are teaching.

See also

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