Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why companies MUST dedicate themselves to design... or die.

We live today in a renaissance of design.  There is no Scarcity of information.  There is no Scarcity of bandwidth.  There is no Scarcity of choices.  The most Scarce resource for the modern company is design.   Design requires 2 very disparate groups to be completely aligned: engineers and creatives.  Products, Services, Brands, and Everything in between now compete using the last scarce resource: design.  Here are some examples:
  • Would you buy an "ugly looking" candy bar?
  • Would you shop at a grocery store with an "ugly" sign?
  • Are you going to spend money at a website that is "hard to use"?
  • Do you enjoy "waiting in line"?
  • Does processing power matter more or less than operating system?
  • Are you likely to "keep using" a complex application when a simpler one exists for the same price?
My story of how I became "an Apple guy":

I used to be a MAC hater.  I loved my PC because it could play games (and I love games).  I hated MAC because it was popular, it couldn't play the "best" games, and because I had to "pay" for all of my software.    iPhone changed all of that!  First, it has games (so I had to get one).  Second, the games are cheap (Free - $0.99)... and they are good.  But what really "got me" with iPhone was its incredible user interface design.  I "FINALLY GET" why people love their Apple Computers (Mac, iPhone, Powerbook, or what have you).  It is exactly because Apple does not rely on "the mouse and keyboard" for its UI, that it's UI works.

I recently bough my first Macbook Pro. ... and I'm starting to "get it".  Apple has infused in its UI guidelines and very strict application approval process, the notion that "design matters".  In many cases design matters most.  Interestingly, some of the elements of Apple design should be considered for ANY platform:
1.) Clutter: There shouldn't be any.
2.) Organization: There should be good.
3.) Automatic Mode: Should always be on.
4.) Configuration Options: Should usually be hidden.
5.) Function: Should be intuitive and should have as few as possible.

Companies will soon realize that if they don't compete on design, they will consistently lose.

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