Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Design Is Driving Technology Forward

Nick Bilton for the Times’ Bits blog:

What struck me about our brief conversation wasn’t that Mr. Cook was talking about two teensy buttons — this is Apple, after all — but that he never once mentioned the technology in the iPad Mini. Instead, he talked about one thing: design.

To this day, I’m not actually sure how many megahertz my iPad operates on. And frankly, I don’t care about the technology inside the technology anymore. It just works — for the most part — and therefore consumers no longer need to think about it.

There’s also Nathan Bashaw’s article, “Designer Eats Engineer”:

The first generation of web designers mostly came from print, and had a tendency to treat web pages as clickable sheets of paper. It made sense that their tool of choice was Photoshop. Now that web design is maturing, it’s practitioners are increasingly discovering the benefits of learning to think in code. The new front-end engineer is really just a designer who prefers HTML, CSS and Javascript to Photoshop.

Two great articles on why design isn’t just veneer: it’s the way things work. The holdouts are finally beginning to understand that. Consider Steven Sinofsky’s “snark-free” observations from CES:

The design language in use for both hardware and software is trending towards a clarity and minimalism — turning over the screen to the app and the customer. There’s a lot less glowing and translucency. Navigation is clearer. Touch gestures are assumed on any device and often are not readily apparent (that is designers are assuming you will figure out how to touch and tap to make stuff happen). And the use of the full screen for the task at hand is clearly dominant. Rather than gain “speed” or “power” via multitasking by arranging, widgets, picture in picture, and so on, the focus is on moving quickly between task-oriented screens.

If this all sounds familiar, that’s because it’s what designers who know their shit have been preaching for ages. (By the way, I’m ignoring the contradiction between the “clearer navigation” and hidden gestures sentences, for the sake of brevity.)