This is Aaron Rester's blog:

Field Notes from the Digital Prairie

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

iPhone = design porn

Yes, I'm coming to this party rather late -- if I'm going to drop several hundred bucks on a gadget, I want to be sure that all of the bugs have been worked out before I do so. But about three weeks ago, armed with an Apple gift card that my wife gave me for my birthday, I finally took the plunge. And I have to say that -- despite all the geeky hype and the fact that I've been a Mac user for fifteen years, and thus should no longer be surprised by anything they do -- the iPhone has blown me away.

Sure, there are problems -- AT&T's Edge network really is as slow as people say, and if your fingers are larger than an eight-year-old's you will spend a lot of time backspacing over typographic errors. But overall, the device is a joy to use. When you work with computers all day every day you constantly bump up against applications and devices that were obviously designed by programmers or engineers of some sort, and that are thus designed FOR programmers or engineers. The all-important empathic act -- transporting yourself out of your own head into the head of a user with entirely different experiences and goals -- is usually the missing step that could have made these products great.

But with the iPhone, as with most of its products, Apple puts the user experience first. It takes an extraordinary problem -- how do you provide much of the functionality of a personal computer on a tiny mobile device? -- and provides simple and elegant solutions. For this reason alone, the user interface is beautiful. But the real magic, as with all good design, happens in the details. Just as one example, consider the way the screen appears to bounce a little bit if you scroll quickly to the top or the bottom of the screen. This tiny detail, which on the surface seems gratuitous, pulls you into the tactile world of the interface, giving you the impression that you are interacting with a physical object rather than pixels on a tiny screen.

1 comment:

shiveringjemmy said...

I am one of those people who bought my iphone the day it was released and I have never once regretted it, even after the price dropped and its capacity doubled. I love that thing to an unhealthy degree.

How was the Hidden Cove? I'm sorry I couldn't make it, but I'll definitely try to show at the Empty Bottle.