This is a repost from Linked In. See the original post here to comment.

I did not create this diagram, ok I did draw this actual diagram today but I drew it from the memory of a diagram that was doing the rounds on email about 10-15 years ago that stuck in my mind. Anyone know the source?

I show it now because I was referring to it in a conversation this week as an example of inside out thinking vs outside in thinking. i.e. when to apply user centric design rather than IT centric design practices depending on the context.

Now that I have drawn it I am asking myself if it is still true. What I mean is, is it still true that non-IT people don’t understand what makes up the innards of the computery things they are using? When out and about (remember that?) I would quite often catch snippets of conversations with people talking about “data”, “cloud” and “apps”; not always in the context of mobile phones. 

Clearly knowing the labels vs truly understanding is very different. For example, I can talk about viruses based on what I have read in the news whilst having zero clue about the details of virology and epidemiology to truly understand what I am talking about. I can throw a few words out like "RNA", "spike protein" and "antigen" but only have a cursory knowledge of what they are and do. The details of sequencing and vaccine development is just plain magic to most of us.

After all that musing, I do feel that people generally have a more informed view beyond the basic assumption that IT is magic. Maybe because IT is more pervasive in the consumer market with smart phones/watches/speakers used by the majority of people now.

Maybe if I just changed “Magic” to say “Cloud Stuff” then I have brought the diagram into the 21st century? The details are still not truly understood but at least it is heading in the right direction! :-)