Sunday, April 1, 2007

Its simple, Right?

I must admit am a bit of a stickler for simplicity and efficiency, I think its because I am generally quite a lazy creature, and when someone is getting paid handsomely to design something, be it a product or a service they owe it to the end user to make it as easy to use and as straight forward as possible.

If you read through some of my other articles you may well have gathered that I am somewhat of a fan of Apple computers and their operating system, mostly because they have perfected the art of making features much easier to use and more visually pleasing.

Palm were a company that were extremely popular in the 90s and produced handheld computers that could compute to, at the time, reasonably high levels, for each model in the design phase, the company had a designated "click counter”. The post came about when the CEO at the tine Geoff Hawkins had declared that any application or feature that was more than 3 clicks away from the main screen, was just not good enough and would have to be re designed.
I was watching a presentation on the TED (technology, education & design conference – great stuff here) website, given by David Pogue a Technology writer for the New York Times today, and he gave a perfect example of a company that definitely do not count the clicks and keep simplicity in mind. Microsoft

Rather than adopt the "dock" system seen on Macs, windows are determined that to access a program stored on your computer, you shall be forced to go through multiple menus and options. We start at “START” then to “All programs” - then search through the list of applications. In osX, you move the mouse to the bottom of the screen and click, that’s all.

When i want to turn my computer off, i need to go to an button on the screen called... wait for it...START, then I need to go to shut down, once I am there I am presented with a box of options which I then must scroll though, there are only 4 options in the box, wouldn’t it be so much better if they just made a window which had 4 buttons, rather than a pop down list?

I know that this stuff isn’t hugely important in the grand scheme of things, and it wont make many people lose sleep etc, but I think when you are making a product, that will be used by millions, and especially when you are in competition with similar products, it is you duty as a designer to make things the best they can be.


Jamie said...

it is important, definitely. i cant stand using Windows, it makes me sick

John Doyle said...

mugsie said...

yeah,,, the shutdown thing DOES have the 4 buttons usually,, but UCD in their infinte wisdom have decided not to have it!! dont get me started on macs by the way......