No-one would ever accuse me of being a member of the Apple chorus. I like dials, whistles and options – even if they don’t perform as promised – so I tend towards WIntel products.
But Apple knows how to drive design in support of its products. And how to keep its engineers from drowning users in details, tweaks and goddamn cascading menus.
Just take a look at the guidance it provides for developers working on the iPhone, like Principles and Guidelines for Creating Great iPhone Content:
As you design the flow of your content and its user interface, follow these guidelines to build in simplicity and ease of use:
- Make it obvious how to use your content.
- Avoid clutter, unused blank space, and busy backgrounds.
- Minimize required user input.
- Express essential information succinctly.
- Provide a fingertip-sized target area for all links and controls.
- Avoid unnecessary interactivity.
Other insights, which seem unintelligible to many other companies, come from a different document Design for Your Users:
“… If you’re designing an iPhone web application, it’s appropriate to go further in defining your audience and ask yourself what traits might set your users apart from all other iPhone users.
Are they business people, teenagers, or retirees? Will they use your application at the end of every day, every time they check their email, or whenever they have a few extra moments? The more accurately you define your audience, the more accurate are your decisions about the look, feel, and functionality of your user interface.
For example, if your application helps business people keep track of their billing time, your user interface should focus on making it easy to enter times and rates, without asking for a lot of details that aren’t central to the task. In addition, you might choose a subtle color palette that appears professional and is pleasant to look at several times a day …”
Sure, the Apple kingdom is a dictatorship, but Steve Jobs knows how to keep the engineers in line.
h/t to basement.org