Simple Sells

I love great design which is why I admire so many of Apple’s products and software. Whenever a user interface is required for a product or an operating system, a simple solution always works better than a feature-rich solution. This is why so many of Apple’s products are successful in terms of user experience.

There is a great piece in the July issue of Fast Company about Steve Jobs called “Apple Nation”. I laughed out loud when I read how Apple’s DVD-burning program (iDVD) was created. A team was assembled and spent 3 weeks working on beautiful mock-ups of what they considered to be the perfect user interface. Documentation was written to describe how the prototype would work.

Mike Evangelist headed up the iDVD team and describes their first meeting with Steve:

“Then Steve comes in,” Evangelist recalls. “He doesn’t look at any of our work. He picks up a marker and goes over to the whiteboard. He draws a rectangle. ‘Here’s the new application,’ he says. ‘It’s got one window. You drag your video into the window. Then you click the button that says BURN. That’s it. That’s what we’re going to make.’”


The entire team was dumbfounded at first but when Evangelist now looks at the slides he prepared for that initial meeting, he describes them as being “ridiculous in their complexity” and that Job’s rectangle was the right way to go.

I love this example. Steve Jobs is a guy who knows that ‘simple sells’. Simple works.

37 signals is a company that understands simplicity and strives to remove complexity from its web applications. Guess what? Their apps work and are wildly successful.

Great design takes something that is often complicated and makes it really simple whether it is a phone, a software application or a website.

Posted in Apple at 1:07 PM