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Category: brand

Twitter = Bird: Bird is the Word, B-b-bird, b-b-bird…

Yeah, the Trashmen did the best version. And that scene from Full Metal Jacket still haunts my dreams. But here’s a nice Twitter commercial by the Ramones. Everybody’s heard about the b-b-bird…

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Design Thinking: Zeldman to Buxton to Gillmor

This thread of thought bounced from Zeldman to Buxton to Gillmor.

Jeffrey Zeldman wrote a post about how Apple should hire itself out to fix the awful state of user interface in a number of devices. My immediate reaction was that there’s no reason that good UI should be unique to Apple. Jobs and Ive just start at a different point than most manufacturers. The question really comes down to where the power lies with regard to design thinking in an organization, and at what level design decisions are made (or not made). At Apple the answer is very clear.

This lead me to a lecture by Bill Buxton at Stanford’s HCI program. I wasn’t able to attend in person, but a video of Buxton’s lecture is available through iTunes University. Buxton’s lecture provides the link between industrial design and software interface design– the interface is now part of the form factor. Buxton has been hired to change the design culture of Microsoft. That’s a tall order, but I give them credit for bringing Buxton on board. His ideas about understanding the transitions between states, and the journey from sketching to prototype are very important.

Steve Gillmor chronicles the transition of software applications from the hard drive to the cache / cloud. His latest prediction is that Silverlight will become the rich internet application runtime of choice for the new MacBook Air and the iPhone. Clearly it won’t be Flash or Java. The Ajax apps are already there, but more richness is always better. If Microsoft plays it right, they could find a path into their next incarnation. MS Office may be dead, but Ray Ozzie’s Live Office is yet to be born.

The reason that no phone or computer manufacturer can compete with Apple is they don’t understand what design thinking is or why it’s important to their organization. Phones are designed by a set of pipes, the telecommunications network makes the design decisions. Computer and software interface design is still dominated by the hardware, it’s designed back to front. Until the value of design is understood, and the hardware stops designing the software, Apple will have no competition. It’s all about the ratio of features to features used. Apple leads the field by a mile.

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Until Now, Your Phone’s UI Has Been Designed by a Pipe


Nice article on Wired about the creation of the iPhone. The significance of Apple’s phone is that it changed the relationship between the pipe and the end user interface (the phone). Phones were disposable, a loss leader, the pipe was the thing. It was all about the wires. But the reality is that feature upon feature was piled on to an awful user interface. When you look at the ratio of features to features used, there was no real value there. An unused, or worse an unusable, feature is a negative when calculating value. And it’s not that you didn’t want to surf the web on your phone, it just wasn’t any fun.

This is not a Pipe 

The big pile of unusable features that were crammed into your phone were designed by a pipe. The iPhone has changed that, the ratio of features to features used? Almost 1:1, and the world of web-based apps is just beginning. This is definitely not a pipe.

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