All posts tagged steve jobs

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Why Design Matters

I don’t know if you own an Apple iPhone or an iPad but you only have to pick them up and touch them to realise that they are designed with a genius that goes beyond the physical. They are intuitive and work with an understanding that blends the human experience with technology.

Steve Jobs is maybe “the” design genius of the information age and has made major impact on several industries with his technology designs and creations including;

  1. The personal computer industry with Apple in the 1980′s
  2. The movie animation industry with Pixar in 1986 when he bought the company for $5 million from George Lucas (all of its movies are among the top 50 grossing movies of all time and have generated over $6.3 billion in revenue)
  3. The music industry with the iPod and the Apple iTunes store
  4. The mobile phone industry with the Apple iPhone and Apps store
  5. The publishing industry with the iPad (the fastest selling technology device in history)

In 1996 Steve Jobs was interviewed by “Wired Magazine” and he said this about design.

“Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it “looks”. But of course if you dig deeper , its really how it “works”. The design of the Mac wasn’t what it looked like, although that was part of it. To design something really well, you have to “get it”. You have to really “grok ” what it’s all about. It takes a passionate comittment to really thoroughly understand something, chew it , not just quickly swallow it. Most people don’t take the time to do that.”

The term “Grok” by the way is a real word and not a “Jobian” expression.

It means according to the Oxford English Dictionary “to understand intuitively or by empathy; to establish rapport with” and “to empathize or communicate sympathetically with).

Wikipedia says “To grok is to share the same reality or line of thinking with another physical or conceptual entity“.

Author Robert A. Heinlein coined the term in his best-selling 1961 book Stranger in a Strange Land. In Heinlein’s view, grokking is the intermingling of intelligence that necessarily affects both the observer and the observed.

I am immersed and enmeshed in the web industry both personally and professionally and have the pleasure and privilege to work with people and their companies with their online stores, web design and digital marketing projects.

The constant challenge is to get under their skin and understand intuitively and empathically what they are trying to achieve and how they want to communicate to their audience. The websites we design and the solution we build need to go beyond the skin deep look and feel and provide the user with an experience that solves their problems and makes life a little easier. In essence we are trying to change the world in our small way.

The genius in design is to ask enough questions and spend enough time so that we “get it” and blend the technology with the human so we can provide an experience that goes beyond the ordinary and into the realm of of intuition and maybe a little magic.

Do you get under your customers skin?

Original article by Jeff Bullas

The Crazies

Remember the Apple Think Different campaign? Seeing as how there’s been a few references to Steve Jobs and Jonny Ives (strategist / tactician and a designer working in harmony anyone?) recently I thought I’d just surface my favourite advert of all time:

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo.

You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.

Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy.

How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

We make tools for these kinds of people.

While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.

Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

It’s a beautiful piece of poetry by two incredibly talented wordsmiths Rob Siltanen and Ken Segall from Chiat Day. I was lucky enough to visit and work at Chiat Day in LA back in 2008 and it reminded me why I love what I do. Meeting someone as industry defining as Lee Clow was humbling and a grounding experience. These guys make things simple. They’re designers of words and thoughts and they make it approachable and elegant and I think we as UX tradesman and women can learn a lot from that.

Charlie and the Apple Factory

Here’s a lovely animation about Apple that portrays Apple’s Steve Jobs as the Willy Wonka.

The spoof actually offers some interesting insight about desirability in apples products. Everyone wants to know what makes Apple’s products so special. Charlie is led to a room that holds the secret of why people love Apple products. The room is completely empty. The Steve Jobs character divulges that it there isn’t anything special about their products except that they convinced people to believe they come from a “magical place.”

Why will people stand in line for hours for the newer version of the iPad, tomorrow when the original only came out around this time last year? Is it because it has cameras now? Is it because it is a little faster? No, and no. It’s easy to compare tablets on specifications like speed and resolution. It’s very difficult to compare on something intangible, like desirability.

Taken from the blog post “UX is 90% desirability” by Francisco Inchauste.

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