Human-scale, or Personal Mastery, is defined in Design Principles Behind Smalltalk as comprehensible by a single individual.

  • If a system is to serve the creative spirit, it must be entirely comprehensible to a single individual.
  • Any barrier that exists between the user and some part of the system will eventually be a barrier to creative expression.
  • Any part of the system that cannot be changed or that is not sufficiently general is a likely source of impediment.
  • If one part of the system works differently from all the rest, that part will require additional effort to control. Such an added burden may detract from the final result and will inhibit future endeavors in that area.

The paper infers the following: A system should be built with a minimum set of unchangeable parts; those parts should be as general as possible; and all parts of the system should be held in a uniform framework.