Thursday, November 26, 2015

Apple Gives Design A Bad Name (The Experts I Told You About)

I spent some time examining Apple's Macintosh Human Interface Guidelines book when I wrote the last post. I keep this book on my shelf because it's a great UI guide, even being multiple decades old, which is telling, since computers are well-known for becoming obsolete the minute you break the shrink-wrapping. Unlike the technology, human interface design/psychology is not as brittle and frail as the flavor of the year tech gadget or visual design fad.

I was looking for the names of the authors of and contributors to the text. I wanted to credit them and search out their sources. I couldn't find any such info in the book itself. Apple is well known for hiding individual contributor facts and using the generic "designed by Apple in California" legend. They're very coy about who Siri's voice came from, for example. The corporate culture rejects individual recognition and promotes a more socialized image, or a literal corporate person image. All the Joni Ive worship out there in the media is created by that media, not by Apple.

Just a few minutes ago on my search for articles about UI design by actual computer interface experts, I think I identified some of the writers involved in producing the book. Their article:

• How Apple Is Giving Design A Bad Name

It expands on the very same complaint I've been making: Apple now largely ignores all the research they did to earn their "masters of design" image. The modern derivative of the guidelines that Apple provides to developers today presents a greatly reduced set of goals, mostly focusing on cosmetics (and specifically Joni Ive's obsession with minimalism).

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