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  • You Can't Innovate Like Apple (interesting article)

    Discussion in 'The Leisure Lounge' started by MechEngineer, Nov 4, 2009.

    1. MechEngineer

      MechEngineer Member

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      Came across this article today. Very interesting. Here is a link to the original source if you want to go there.

       
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    3. Pete

      Pete Well-Known Member

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      Great article! It’s rare to come across something so eloquent and informed about the product design industry!

      That said, I would like to apologise for the following long winded and poorly structured argument - Apple drive me crazy with their "Beautiful Design".

      If I was to come up with the iPod while I was studying Industrial Design at Loughborough, I'd have had the paper thrown back at me and told to do some proper work.

      The iPod's simplicity is its selling point, and goes a long way to making it the icon it has become, but I feel their lack of any market research and focus groups created a product that was completely unusable to anyone but the designer that conceived it.

      The technology in an iPod is brilliant, but if you give an iPod to your gran (or granddad), the notion of gently stroking the big circle on the front clockwise to scroll down through endless (and I mean ENDLESS) menus, and anti-clockwise to go up, just wont occur to them.

      It's more intuitive to press the bottom of the wheel to go down, the top to go up, left to select and go forward through the menu and right to go back.

      I know that there is an argument here that says read the instruction booklet, that’s what it’s for. But how many of us actually genuinely have ever read the manual that comes with our latest gadget!?

      Moving off the scroll wheel for a second- when I got my iPod, I was totally stumped as to how to select my desired option from said menu. Only after finally turning to the booklet I found that there is a button at the centre of the wheel so smartly disguised as the rest of the iPod, I missed it..........

      In my humble opinion, I can't help feel that its a kick in the face for all the work I and countless others have done in industrial design to create truly universal and inclusive products. A product that is intuitive to use and is accessible to all users regardless of age, technical knowhow and physical ability. I feel that you should be able to pick up a product and know how it works instantly, and not get frustrated or scared off by the interface and technology.

      I said at the start of this ramble that I would have got the iPod thrown back at me at Uni, and that’s because if you can imagine, just for a moment that you have never seen an iPod, and after 4 weeks design and development work, you presented a 100 page folio on the design of a digital music player, and your final design, the culmination of all that work was a small aluminium rectangle.
      [​IMG]

      Bringing this rant up to date – the iPhone and iPod touch. I struggle to see how this can be an iconic beautiful design either. It’s a screen. And a button. Oh and its aluminium again...
      [​IMG]

      As an example of form over function, its good.

      As a platform for new innovation. Its awesome!

      As an example of a phenomenally successful marketing campaign, it’s amazing

      As an example of good industrial design. Its not.

      ....

      And don’t even get me started on the army of ipod copies, the iphone copies, and why oh why are all downloaded pre-recorded audio programs now called “Pod Castsâ€? Any why in gods name, did BBC called their on-line content player the “iPlayerâ€...

      Right. Back to FEAing....
       
    4. kenny82

      kenny82 Well-Known Member

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      Good article and good post by Pete.

      I know what you mean, Pete. I didn't have a clue myself too.

      I feel that conventional industrial design projects have an bias towards mechanical innovation. Therefore I can understand that presenting a project featuring a little rectangular thing that does "amazing things" might not go down well. :D


      Idiotic isn't it? How long before iEverything is so unfashionable it will be ridiculed?

      I must confess that I particularly hate the term "Pod Cast".
       
    5. Camid

      Camid Well-Known Member

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      Hi Pete and Kenny82

      I certainly take your points about the project not being accepted at a university! But then maybe that is a good thing.

      I think the iPod debate is slightly different from the Apple design debate. The iPod is basically about apps (these are what make the product useful) - the method of delivery is secondary in a way. Like a lot of small electronic gadgets the aim is to 'melt the physical product away'. Sad some may say - but true. The theory goes that if you could design it as a sheet of glass then that would be even better. Unlike some lab kit or hi-fi your job here is to present the software - that is all there is. It becomes pure interface design almost.

      I find some people get the (old and new) iPod interface while others do not. Obviously in terms of market 70% (or whatever) means they get it right for a large number of people. I don't think its a kick - I would view it as a chance to analyse why others can use the product straight-off. What can we do better etc. As the software interface encroaches into our product design more and more I suppose we have to get more involved in this.

      As an aside remember Apple are famous for not doing focus groups and marketing of any kind when it involves product design. Fender do this well. The design office is full of people that play music so .... they make stuff musicians want.

      Spotted this recently: Dieter Rams' Ten Principles of good design
      I happen to subscribe to the 'make a product useful' bit :) - though I am not sure how often I satisfy all of the list ....

      PS also agree on the i-phenomenon. I think clients are aware of how faded this sounds - along with translucent plastic ;-)
       
    6. Camid

      Camid Well-Known Member

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      To continue the theme....

      To continue the theme....
      Check out - iPad: Function Following Form http://post.ly/Ktq2
       
    7. mvalenti

      mvalenti Well-Known Member

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      the ipad looks like it will work as a much better paddle than either the ipod or iphone.... you know when your up $hits creek... sorry a case of the sillies today....
       
    8. Pete

      Pete Well-Known Member

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      My supervisor once said to me "Don't design your self out of a job" - meaning don't perfect the first version, otherwise what are you going to do for the rest of the year??

      That idea's never really sat very well with me, but on balance, looking at version 1 of the iPad, maybe i'll sit this one out and have a look at version 2 or 3!?
       
    9. Camid

      Camid Well-Known Member

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      Well Pete you just know they will include the camera, SD reader etc, that is missing from V1. Classic marketing strategy... I think your supervisor was on to something. Like you I will be waiting for V2 but then I couldn't run Solidwork on it so maybe not.

      PS I have a company at the moment who wants to innovate - however they find it quite difficult to pin down what exactly this innovation thing will be... mmm. Could be interesting.
       
    10. Pete

      Pete Well-Known Member

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      Do it the apple way.

      Design something that you've always wanted, and then convince the world that this object is actually the single object that has been making your life incomplete so far! :)
       
    11. BigJoe

      BigJoe Member

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      Not only interesting, but pretty accurate. Lots of time and effort into the execution for sure.
       

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