Into the Future: 7 Design Lessons We Can Learn from Apple
Lesson #1: Design with the user in mind.
Apple may look like they rule the world with their signature clean designs and features, but the cornerstone of this concept is the user himself. Sure there may be complaints about the price of some of their products, but everything has been created with the user in mind. The giant conglomerate has taken great pains to ensure that user experience is their number one priority, and so should you, if you want your users or customers to feel appreciated.
Lesson #2: Simplicity is key.
Apple shies away from visual clutter. Its competitors, one of them being this one, obviously does not believe in the ‘less is more’ adage. Companies tend to cram a truckload of information, be it promotional copy or product shots, into their websites, but little do they know that they’re “killing” their brand. HTC has obviously been inspired by Apple’s use of minimalism where its site is concerned and has revamped their site to mirror this concept.
In a nutshell, whether you’re designing a website or communicating to your customers, you’ll need to find ways to simplify your message or designs so as not to overwhelm your audience.
Lesson #3: Make your products the hero.
A.k.a. create stunning product shots and surround them with white space, hence making your products stand out like none other.
Quick comparison: open up Apple.com and compare the site with say, Samsung.com. Which do you think showcases their product in a more memorable way? No prizes for guessing who.
Lesson #4: Create designs that belong.
It is no secret that Apple’s products share common genetic characteristics. They look like they belong in a family, be it a Mac, an iPad, an iPhone or an iPod. Even their Apple.com website looks pretty similar to the App Store in terms of style and layout.
The lesson we can take away from this is that by implementing designs (be it for products or website pages) that look like they belong to each other, user’s experience is enhanced and the company’s signature style is reinforced. In other words, it’ll stick in the user’s mind and make them remember you for a long while to come.
Lesson #5: Genuinely improve yourself (and your products) all the time.
Apple admits that where design is concerned, it has spurred on many of its rivals to appear new or different. This approach, however, is wrong. What designers or innovators SHOULD be doing is to focus on their users and to deliver something that they can AND want to use. Apple also takes care of older people especially iPads, and its apps are very easy to use for older people without any manual effort and knowing about technicalities. Where Apple strives to create products that are genuinely better, its competitors are tripping over themselves to push forward the difference between Apple and their brands.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Apple keeps releasing new or improved products year after year. People may laugh, groan or moan about it, but Apple retail stores would still be full to the brim (let’s not even talk about the winding queue outside their doors).
Lesson #6: Be early adopters, and stick to your plan.
Long before everyone shied away from Flash, Apple has been known to reject Flash since day one. Steve Jobs famously “dissed” Flash, saying: “They are lazy. They have all this potential to do interesting things but they just refuse to do it.”
He further adds that Apple does not support Flash because it is so buggy, and reveals that Flash is most probably the culprit behind instances of Macs crashing. Apple was clearly ahead of everyone in its time by leading the pack of early adopters for HTML5-based designs.
Lesson #7: Push yourself far, further, furthest.
Sir Jonathan Ive, legendary designer for Apple, revealed that the company almost ditched initial design plans for their iPhone after it was discovered that placing the touchscreen near one’s ear caused the phone to auto-dial.
However, the team behind the life-changing tech persevered and solved the issue, banking on the mantra of ‘good is the enemy of great’. Sir Jonathan reiterated that it’s easy to design something that’s good or competent but the true challenge is to push yourself further to eventually conceive ground-breaking innovations.
In short, be awesome, not mediocre.