Calm technology

On December 21st, 1995 at Xerox PARC, Mark Weiser and John Seely Brown published something between a blog post and a manifesto. This post was titled “Designing Calm Technology”.

Calm technology or Calm design (HCI is, after all, in the intersection of technology and design) can be defined as the state of technology in which the interaction between the expression of that technology and its user is designed to occur in the user’s periphery rather than constantly at the center of attention.

Almost 25 years after the publication of this manifesto, it could be more relevant than ever. Now that technology is ubiquitous and we are surrounded by it, it is absolutely necessary that it has “the ability to inform but not demand our focus or attention.”

Weiser and Brown established three “signs” or principles for this to happen.


“What would the world be like if our devices were as invisible and maintenance-free as electricity is now? Technology as Weiser and Brown imagined it will bring us back into life instead of out of it, give us joy instead of anxiety, foster community, makes us more human.”

— Amber Case’s Calm Technology (thanks @arianaescobar)

Calm tech site and authors.