Copying design: Form and function

Posted by: on Sep 1, 2012 | No Comments

It seems a lot of people conflate form and function. This is happening with recent Apple designs being ripped off by Samsung and other manufacturers.

People typically cite prior art such as previous generation laptops or phones and say Apple copied those.

You will find however that in most (but likely not all) cases this is a class error. Often they think that the functional elements of a design (flip open screen, integral keyboard, touch screen, or home button) represent the total design aesthetic.

Trade dress disputes are about form. People who say Apple just built on phones or laptops of the past are often missing the nuance of design. Angles. Texture. Finish. Materials. Weight. Volume. Proportions. These add up together to create an end result – the design.

I think iAd may die

Posted by: on Aug 23, 2012 | No Comments

I don’t normally care about Apple’s iAd.

Last night however, I was musing about how I intensely dislike the advertising industry and by extrapolation all businesses that are primarily ad-revenue based (Google, Facebook etc).

Witness what Twitter is doing to its user base and partners for just the most recent exposition of the direct conflict with user interests that advertising presents. Or Google’s recent addition of advertising images to the top of image search results.

As for iAd, I thought it was a pretty good idea when they introduced it. As good as advertising can get. Big budget, high quality ads for premium brands. Perfect Apple bedfellows.

Let’s squash the stupid: “60% or more iOS apps don’t break even”

Posted by: on May 7, 2012 | One Comment

So it goes, apparently, that 60% plus of iOS apps barely break even.

I have been hearing for a while the “mobile app development is a lottery” proclamation and largely agreeing with it. People telling me that making money on the app store is like having a hit song.

I couldn’t disagree with it, it seemed to make sense… until I plugged in my sorry excuse for brain.

It’s time to hit this messed up, insanely brain-dead FUD with the stupid stick

The web is doomed. Native will rule. I’m not alone.

Posted by: on Sep 27, 2011 | 5 Comments

A great piece by Joe Hewitt, who writes far better than I. This is pure killer:

The arrogance of Web evangelists is staggering. They take for granted that the Web will always be popular regardless of whether it is technologically competitive with other platforms. They place ideology above relevance. Haven’t they noticed that the world of software is ablaze with new ideas and a growing number of those ideas are flat out impossible to build on the Web? I can easily see a world in which Web usage falls to insignificant levels compared to Android, iOS, and Windows, and becomes a footnote in history. That thing we used to use in the early days of the Internet.

As those of you who read my previous post on the possibility native could eclipse web on the desktop will know, I could not agree more. It’s not something I want, but I believe it may be inevitable. Even if Joe’s mooted guardians/CEOs of “the web” materialised, there’s no guarantee they would produce something compelling enough for the average user to use in preference to native apps.

Joe’s piece is bang on, in that the web geeks of the world are in complete denial of this and the dead weight of design-by-committee that will forever drag the core web technologies down.

Also ties into a tweet that I saw today:

@hnshah: “As far as the customer is concerned, the interface is the product.” Jef Raskin

There are a couple of ways to interpret this, but mine is “customers don’t give a shit how you implemented this or what your constraints are”.

What they see, feel and experience in front of them is what they care about.

Web devs who deny this is the case are just sticking with what they know, and companies sticking to web development are doing this purely for cost reasons that make not one jot of difference to the customer. Seriously, who wants to learn Objective-C, code Android, or Windows or OS X when they can already do HTML + JS? You can see the logic – it’s “cross platform”. It is however self-interest, and this does not drive the software market. The customer does, and the customer is rarely happy in the long term with lowest-common-denominator UX and functionality.

The web offers no gain for the customer whatsoever vs native. The converse is true for native vs web.

Yes I make a living from making web app stuff. For now at least.

Design compromise, usability, iBooks and Apple

Design compromise, usability, iBooks and Apple

Posted by: on Sep 9, 2011 | One Comment

I hear many people complain about the “cheesy” book binding and page metaphor in iOS iBooks and other similar UI choices Apple have made in iOS and OS X Lion. I think iBooks is a special case… here’s why.