I’m a long-term fan of Apple, having used their products since the days of the Apple II computer. I loved the products so much that in 1993 I left my University job and moved to Apple where I established the User Experience Architect’s Office. Afterwards I became Vice President of Apple’s Advanced Technology Group. Indeed, I am typing this on an Apple computer.
I was once proud to be at Apple, proud of Apple’s reputation of advancing ease of use and understanding. Alas, these attributes are fast disappearing from their products in favor of pretty looks, or as designers call it “styling.”
Apple has gotten carried away by the slick, minimalist appearance of their products at the expense of ease of use, understandability, and the ability to do complex operations without ever looking at the manual.
Today, the products are beautiful, but for many of us, confusing. The fonts are pleasant to the eye, but difficult to read. The principle of “discoverability” has been lost. The only way to know what to do in many situations is to have memorized the action. The screens offer no assistance in remembering whether one should swipe left or right, up or down, one finger or two. Or three. One tap or two. I frequently have to “re-read the manual,” which means going back to the control panel to review the multiple finger swipes – which are not even the same for all devices: the magic mouse is different from the trackpad which is different from the iPad.