Saturday, November 3, 2012

Good Design Is A Beauty To Behold

In a world becoming more and more complex, complicated, as as some of us get older, at times unfathomable,  I thought we should celebrate those who try to simplify our lives.

I am an Apple fan; Apple computers, then after several generations of those got the very first iPhone and finally an iPad 2. Each in its time was a model of simplicity. As I noted earlier the Mac OS 10.8 has ballooned to a third party book of over 850 pages and I have reached page 50. Did I ask for all this? Not really. Unless I am literally creating something in PhotoShop or that miserable InDesign, I find my iPad is just fine. I'm writing this post on it right now.

The first viewing of the first iPhone at MacWorld left most of us speechless. I braved the lines at launch and after a day felt very proficient. And who will ever forget the video of a two year old using the first iPad?

A friend, a lifelong programmer and PC user broke down and got an iPad. He couldn't believe it was that easy to use. I've heard complaints about the lack of manuals but after a few pokes most people are up and running.

Apple has taken the study of ethnography to its heart and dispute a misstep now and then still creates some of the simplest and powerful gadgets on the planet to use.

Ethnography got its start when the first Xerox machine was a plop. In desperation Xerox brought in people and filmed them using their new machine.  What they saw amazed them. The engineers had designed a machine for themselves. No one else could use it.

Even by the 70's Xerox copiers remained challenging. When we got a huge Sharp copier we were stunned at how easy it was to use. We used it until there were no longer parts for it over a decade later. The company never again has a great a copier.

A few companies continue to push the envelope and should be rewarded if they succeed. The question we need to ask ourselves and the products we buy, do we need all this? Will we ever use it? How many items have we paid too much for because it "could" do this or that ... Then never once used it? A bunch I bet.

If you have an iPhone or iPad I bet you use it every day. It's become so much a part of your life you can't live without. THAT'S great design. And I will give a nod to Android too. However, it is not my cup of tea and requires a bit more skill to maintain than my iPhone. All I's saying is this, if you can't figure it out at the store, will you at home?

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