View Full Version : Interview with Donald Norman - Why we love the iPod.

Jul 22, 2004, 11:27 AM
Category: Opinion/Interviews
Link: Interview with Donald Norman - Why we love the iPod. (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20040722122700)
Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)

Approved by Mudbug

Jul 22, 2004, 11:28 AM
Overall, this was an interesting read. The 'stream of consciousness' answers that were just transcribed were a bit hard to follow sometimes, but that's just because it wasn't edited.

Granted there's just a medium-sized blurb about the iPod specifically, but the in-depth look overall design implications of it (and other technological devices) was interesting to me.

Jul 22, 2004, 12:03 PM
Some very interesting thoughts.

It's hard to read it and not think about this being the reason Apple is so different (and better) than the competition.

Jul 22, 2004, 08:11 PM
In the computer world, there is only Apple that gets it and Sony.* So, that the best and most attractive line are the Vaio line of Sony.
That's a really, really bizarre thing to say. Sony do put lots of interesting hardware features on their computers, but their software interfaces and hardware ergonomics are atrocious. On the VAIO compact desktop keyboard, Delete is way off over the numeric pad, Home/End/PgUp/PgDn require you to hold down Fn, and those are on the arrow keys that are wedged against Shift, Ctrl and Enter so it's especially easy to hit them by accident.

Everyone knows about the interface nightmare that is SoundStage, but all their stuff is like that.

Their DigitalPrint (vaguely like an iPhoto without editing) is mystifying, every function is a separate module, and the icons and terminology don't resemble Windows or anything else; you have to mouse over and read the descriptions to figure out what they might do. and then simple actions like selecting images works kind of in an MS-DOS toggle manner rather than using Windows/Mac conventions.

Next there's Sony MovieShaker (iMovie-like thing). It's pretty, but WTF is a BGM? (background music, but nowhere do they tell you this even though it's a prominent interface feature). I never got to find out how well it works overall because importing DV invariably crashes it. But that's okay, they include a completely different program called Smart capture that does work, but it's got a completely different interface from MovieShake, no basic editing, and no integration with the other. But that's okay, they provide yet a third completely different set of DV capture/edit/playback programs called DVgate if you're pulling your hair out from the other two.

Their bundled DVD player has an unintuitive but passable interface, too bad it's also crashy. Then there's VisualFlow, a trippy image viewer that serves no apparent useful function other than to make the user mildly nauseous.

Well, at least they have the VAIO support agent so you can get assistance. Not. Beyond vanilla Windows help there's little information and no useful context for what is there.

All these can be fixed by installing third-party software and peripherals, but at that point you have an expensive generic ASUS system in a pretty box.
And do hope that nothing goes wrong, the software recovery discs don't offer an option that doesn't involve reformatting the hard disk. Even the low-end HPaq systems can get that one right.

It's just like their high-end entertainment hardware. Undeniably cool looking, but hundreds of useless extra controls, only a small fraction of which do anything useful.