Design is How It Works

From Weekly I/O#65

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

Book: Creative Selection

During a 2003 interview with The New York Times discussing the iPod, Steve Jobs said:

"Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it [a product] looks like. People think it's this veneer—that the designers are handed this box and told, "Make it look good!" That's not what we think design is. It's not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."

Superficial aesthetics in products don't truly benefit users. Therefore, product design should focus on the beauty inherent in its functionality, rather than solely on its visual and tactile appeal. The form of a product should be determined by its intended purpose. Form follows function.

Products should be self-explanatory in their design to tell the user what it is and how to use it. Objects should explain themselves. To pick one sentence that can encapsulate the essence of practical inventions and product development, the author Ken Kocienda summarized in Steve's quote: "Design is how it works."

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