Thou Shalt Not Do It Like Everyone Else Does.Steve Jobs and his crew at Apple really embraced this commandment when they thought about the next big thing. They did not create their products like everyone else. Instead, they saw an opportunity – to take what already existed, the mobile telephone, and create it to be something that people really love using. Don’t get me wrong, cell phones are pretty much awesome. I remember when Nokia came out with the 8260 model, making the phone more compact and sleeker looking than the 6160…and remember the flashy lithium battery that you could buy in the carts at the mall so that your phone lit up with sweet light effects? Yea, if you didn’t jack up your phone like that, you weren’t cool. In any case, I thought I was on top of the world…barely a teenager and had a flashy Nokia 8260 that did all kinds of tricks –Text message. Hold voice messages inside of its memory. Dial to people on very compact buttons. Wow. Was I one lucky kid. I knew that cell phones could do great things for me, but I wasn’t aware that they did it very poorly. Making me press lots of tiny buttons to text message and dial correctly, and let alone unlock my phone to navigate through the interface on an extremely tiny screen, just made me hate my phone and rarely use it (despite the kickass lights I had on the battery).
“When technology delivers basic needs, user experience dominates.” –Don Norman“Everybody hates their phone, and that’s not a good thing. And there’s an opportunity there,” Jobs stated. Steve Jobs had an advantage – the cell phone already had many features, especially leading up to the development of the first generation iPhone. Web browsing was developed, conference calling, voicemail, and text messaging were already in the works…All Jobs had to do was fix it. And fix it he did, creating a three-step process of using the iPhone:
1. Entering the iPhone:The interface of the iPhone is so simple and streamlined that the user does not need to think to himself, “where do I press in order to enter the phone?” The clear button on the bottom, center of the face makes entering the phone intuitive to the user.
2. Unlocking the iPhone:Apple cannot make it any clearer to the user how to unlock the cell phone. “Slide to unlock” appears on the bottom of the screen with a simple arrow to the left. Apple embraced the simplest details in order to make the user experience dynamic by creating a lighting animation, from left to right, on the text. Got a passcode? Jobs and his team took locking the phone one step further by customizing the locking options with password control. Entering your password is as simple as ever, with clear and large number available to the user, which cannot be misunderstood.
3. Navigating through the iPhone:When the user reaches the main screen of the iPhone, the device does not have its features hidden in menus; rather, all of its features, which aren’t many to begin with, are clearly laid out, utilizing picture icons with text on a fluid and intuitive interface, so that the user experience is quick, clear, and efficient.
When you realize the essence of the iPhone, simplicity is certainly reinvented. It’s handful of features makes it a powerful tool for establishing a successful user experience and Apple the winner of the User Interface and User Experience Race.