Friday, July 03, 2015

Counterintuitive

People are always saying how intuitive Apple interfaces are, but I actually find them to be counterintuitive. I would say they're interfaces are elegant, but frequently baffling, at least until you can find an explanation, either from Google or from a true Apple fan.

Yes, just now, I was trying to delete the photos from my iPhone, to make room. That took me a while.

There's a book, the Design of Everyday Things, by Don Norman, that goes into this topic of elegant design as opposed to truly intuitive design. The whole thing, in a revised version, is now available for free on PDF.



I'm not sure he'd agree with me about Apple. After his initial version of the book, decades ago, he worked for Apple for a while.

"The most important experience was at Apple, where I began to appreciate how issues—budget, schedule, competitive forces, and the established base of products—that seldom concern scientists can dominate decisions in the world of business. While I was at Apple it had lost its way, but nothing is a better learning experience than a company in trouble: you have to be a fast learner."

While writing about faucet design, he describes the problem I have with a lot of Apple interfaces.

"In the name of elegance, the moving parts sometimes meld invisibly into the faucet structure, making it nearly impossible even to find the controls, let alone figure out which way they move or what they control."

Don't get me wrong. Apple does a lot of great stuff. The iPhone is a wonder that I rely on.

But getting rid of photographs
Shouldn't be so hard.
Did they do it just for laughs?
I fear my psyche's scarred.

2 comments:

Charlie McDanger said...

A couple years ago I did a video job for a company whose computers were all Apple. I marveled watching these smart people struggle to do things that would be the simplest of tasks on a PC. Move a file from an SD card to the desktop, etc.

I agree with you that it is a prettier package for people who require a very narrow range of functions.

JohnJEnright said...

Thanks for some confirmation. I don't understand the adulation at some gut level.