Alex Wright

Calvino's heuristics

July 14, 2004

Before we had Nielsen, Norman et al. trying to codify principles for user experience design, Italo Calvino gave us Six Memos for the Next Millenium (his last published work before his death in 1985).

I read the book about 15 years ago during an early infatuation with Calvino (still one of my favorite authors), but a recent Rhizome project prompted me to go back and think about Calvino's final manifesto in a new light: not just as a set of literary principles, but as rubrics for user experience design.

The six memos are:

  • Lightness
  • Quickness
  • Exactitude
  • Visibility
  • Multiplicity
  • Consistency
I doubt that Nielsen, Norman, and a thousand monkeys with typewriters and HCI degrees would ever improve on that.

File under: User Experience

« Plog this | Plugged »


Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages

Mastering Information Through the Ages

New Paperback Edition

“A penetrating and highly entertaining meditation on the information age and its historical roots.”
—Los Angeles Times     

Buy from