Sunday, October 15, 2006

Steve Jobs on the "Zen" of the iPod

Do you want to know how to design a great product? Follow this lead, a quote from Steve Jobs on what the design lessons of the iPod were:
Look at the design of a lot of consumer products—they're really complicated surfaces. We tried make something much more holistic and simple. When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can oftentimes arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions. Most people just don't put in the time or energy to get there. We believe that customers are smart, and want objects which are well thought through.
Simple, right? You'd think so, but I think often what happens is that there are too many cooks in the kitchen, too many visions and too many political decisions. Clearly, not a lot of companies are doing this correctly.

Jobs goes onto say:
I like things that do the job and kind of disappear into my life. Like Levis. They just kind of get faded and disappear, and you don't think about it much. If you look, you appreciate the design, but you feel something from them, too. A lot of quality is communicated through a feeling that people have. They don't understand exactly why, but they know that a lot of care and love was put into the designing of the product.
Don't we (Mac users) all feel this way? I'm always striving to reach the point where it's clear "that a lot of care and love was put into the designing of the product" when working on my own creations. It's a lot of work, it can take a lot of time and thought, and it's not something that is always easy, and you do certainly have to "put in the time or energy" to get there.

This has some really interesting comments on how the whole iTunes music store got started, and his comments on Zune as well. You can read the whole Newsweek interview here:

‘Good for the Soul’ With iPod’s fifth birthday around the corner, Steve Jobs discusses the MP3 player’s design, cool factor and impact on how we listen to music


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