Two groups of consumer-goods makers exist. One group knows of user-focused design oracle Don Norman, and follows his ideas with fervor. The other knows of Norman, and disagrees with him, but follows his ideas on the down low.
All three will want to hear Norman's surprising take on who's winning the design battle — Apple Inc. or Microsoft Corp. (He says it's Microsoft.)
41The Design of Everyday Things.42
First, to give this some context, Norman is a proponent of intuitively useful design. Some examples are a spoon, a bowling ball, a wind-up alarm clock, or the Apple iPod circa 2004 (small screen and dead-obvious controls).
One of the fun aspects of listening to Norman, a former Apple Inc. and HP Inc. exec, is his candor.
He has extraordinary insight into what made Apple a computing and electronics legend, but he can also tear through what he sees as its growing problems like a carpet of army ants marauding through a jungle. If he's got a single sentimental neuron, he saves it for his home life.
70I am (always) intentionally provocative.71
In January, he was interviewed in Fast Company's Co.Design.com to evaluate some consumer-technology companies. The really interesting parts (IMHO) focus on Microsoft and Apple.
For all of its hundreds of billions of revenue stacked overseas, Norman said, Apple has fallen from a great height. In the absence of the late Steve Jobs co-founder of Apple and the company's most successful CEOs, products are meandering.
92Apple is hiring brilliant
111Fonts are getting smaller and smaller. The products are harder to use with your fingers