When Apples Design Got Worse


In the article “How Apple Is Giving Design A Bad Name” the authors point out many of their frustrations with Apple.  They argue that Apple has actually gone worse in design in many ways particularly with IOS.  Apple used to be renowned for its simplicity but although at first glance users see the new Apple products as simple, when you dig deeper you actually see that to use advanced functionality is actually quite difficult for an average user who is using the devices without ever reading a manual.

They point out that although many people claim at how even elder people are now using iPads as they are so easy to use, there are still major design flaws that make things more complicated than they need to be.  For instance in the iPad, going beyond the simple operations such as pasting three photos somewhere can actually become more difficult than it is.  So many people using the devices don’t actually get the most use out of them as they don’t know that they have the ability to do something.  There is no manual and they argue that some things are getting so complicated that they actually now need a manual.

They pointed out how when you changed the keyboard on the IOS from upper case to lower case the letters would still be in upper case on the keyboard design but a up arrow (shift key) would change colour from black to white.  How should a user know which colour is upper case and which colour is lower case?

They point out that in many instances beauty has taken over from functionality.  For instance, some fonts are so nice looking but many people without the sharp vision of a 17 year old find them hard to read on the screen.  The beauty might have increased but for many the functionality decreased.

One of the biggest things missing in the IOS is the “undo” key.  This was one of the best features of the computer era in that users were safe with the knowledge that they could undo anything at anytime and so were free to experiment more.  In the earlier versions of IOS it didn’t exist and now that it does it is that you have to shake your phone to undo. Many apps don’t have this feature turned on.  And many users don’t know that this feature exists.  So there are many times the user is not sure what and where to click and might get linked through to a YouTube video which they can’t get back from.

Technology can make users feel dumb.  And the authors of this article highlighted many ways in which Apple was actually at fault and needs to fix its design issues so that they are continued to be seen as the best in design rather than simply the company that makes things look good.

Moving forward there will be many more copying of Google from Apple just as there will continue to be the copying of Apple from Google.  Usability experts like the authors advocate that designers should communicate and collaborate across departments rather than work in silos which can lead to inconsistency in the usability across the different products.


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