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ast week, it got the chance to listen to one of the greatest innovators of our time.
He changed the way how we communicate and interact with everything in the world. He helped to develop a system that now, more than 1.5 billion people use. He build iOS. He also founded Nest and understood from the first moment that minimalism and simplicity are key. His name is Matt Rogers.
Now, iOS might not seem huge. Nothing you could compare to the Space Race or the car’s innovation, or what Newton or Tesla did. However, let me prove you wrong! We all use devices daily. Everybody must understand the actions they have to take; therefore, developers must create systems that seem as intuitive to the user as possible. If they did not do so, users would get confused and not spend time on those applications.
We see bad design all the time. We sometimes do not understand where to find specific settings or orders we purchase on Amazon. For me, somebody into developing User Interfaces and their experience (UI/UX) hurts seeing my grandma struggle with specific applications.
Photo by unibloggger.com
My generation (generation Z) seems to have no struggle navigating applications. We understand the patterns in design, the logic of built screens, and their meaning since devices surrounded us from our very moment… Design patterns are like grammar… They repeat cross-platform. Learning how to Navigate applications is like learning a language. It is more comfortable being a child while your brain is still structuring. So you don’t have to replace or reformat your digital status quo later on.
But who developed those standards. Who understood how people think, how they interact, and how to restructure their brains to use their applications efficiently. For example, Apple created the Cupertino package, which contains layouts and interactions users are familiar with. Developers can download and integrate those into their applications so that users instantly know how apps perform. Apple’s ecosystem wholly devours me. I am used to those exact patterns:
illustrations by Flutter.dev | Copyright Apple Inc.
Apple can be seen as one, if not the company, creating those guidelines. They built computers for “the rest of us,” for ordinary people, that didn’t study mathematics or computer science. They brought interfaces to life, which imitated an old fashion desk setup. They brought in interactions users are already familiar with. It was/is letting them store stuff on a desk or structure files into folders or binders. If files were outdated or irrelevant, users could throw them into the bin and erase it.
To put it in a nutshell, Apple removed the green command line, where users first had to learn a programming language before using a computer and replaced it with an interface. They gave the user the power to control everything using a friendly, intuitive system that they directly understand.
We always hear people arguing about the best operating system.
But that is the wrong question! The question should not be about which systems are the best, but about the user. Which operating system suits best to you.
Apple understood that the question is not about adjustments, about adding new features just for the sake of releasing something. If something is not 100% completed or thought through, Apple won’t add it to the next release. Apple seems to be a company that is not serving the broad mass but to those who can effort its whole ecosystem, which really reveals apple advantages.
Indeed, Apple is not giving you many adjustment settings; no one is arguing that. But by doing so, Apple can sustain a simple, easy to use, secure method to browse the internet without fetching viruses or any kind of pop-ups. Apple is taking privacy above adjustments. Apple just works!
However, this was just one example of why minimalism is key. There are also the obvious ones like more comfortable usage, better performance, and of course, minimalistic screens just look damn sick!
I want to end this article with an open question. What if: interfaces would have never been developed or thought of. What if there would be no way to interact with a device not using a terminal. Indeed, everybody who would have a computer, would probably be people working at IBM full-stop.
“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” 🤦🏼
Thomas Watson, president of IBM, 1943
They would know commands like “ls,” “cd,” “dir,” and so on. Teenagers wouldn’t be on their phones all the time, since first of all terminals are boring and secondly, phones wouldn’t exist due to no market competitions since nobody would buy terminal-machines.
Also, if the hardware would exist, I dough that nowadays that many people would use smartphones. The world would look different. Maybe even a little bit more active 🙃.
Even though iOS was not the first mobile operating system, it was the first one that combined multiple features like phoning, texting, writing, googling, and even gaming while keeping it simple due to its intuitive and predictive development.
iOS had a significant impact on our society, and by making it as easy and accessible as possible, it gets used by so many people. Interfaces are an excellent example that sometimes less is more!