I love my iPod and I love my Volvo. I bought my iPod in part because I knew Apple done user testing to develop the design, and as a user-centered design specialist I value that and like to support it when I can. Sadly, that is not often. But now my iPod is really a part of my life. But perhaps I love both the iPod and the Volvo not just because they have great features, but because they are good design.

As Gruber states in this thought provoking blog post “much of what gets chalked up as devotion to/obsession with Apple is, in fact, devotion to/obsession with great design.” So, I am obsessed with my iPod and my Volvo (which he later discusses as a car company with good design), because I like good design. Okay, this is not a big surprise given it is one of my specialties, but I am not the only one with white earbuds in my ears. Apple had a devoted following because they have good design that is “pretty” and distinctive. Volvo has a similar following. I don’t know anyone who had owned a Volvo and gone back. I don’t plan to (I just want greener Volvos).

Jacob Nielsen, among others, has argued that users just want simple, clean, and easy to use design, suggesting that aesthetics is not important in design. This is always something I disagreed with. If there are two products that are exactly the same with the same features, but one is aesthetically pleasing, which one would you take? I’d take the pretty one anytime.

Gruber ends his blog post suggesting that Apple needs a real competitor to push them to do even better. Imagine if we got to select from several great designs, and not just one and some poor alternatives. I wonder what color our earbuds would be then?

One Response to “Emotional Connections to Good Design”

I don’t understand what you like about that S60 so much. Other than the blindspot created by the seat, the disappointing cup holder, and the “dual climate control” which really means “whatever temperature I, the car, decide”, I’ve got no complaints about the vehicle, but these features exist in other cars. I’m not sold on the Volvo is king, yet.

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