When I think of great product design, Apple immediately comes to mind. They seem consistently successful at creating products that excel at being supremely functional while possessing the utmost social and emotional economy. I can still remember when I opened the box to my new iPhone — brain flooded with happy-inducing chemicals. Sleek to the touch, heft in my hand, components and aesthetics in beautiful harmony. The design of the device communicated what my next steps where — no assembly or supplemental pieces required — the potential for frustration null, the tool was whole and ready to be experienced immediately. The components of the phone were naturally interpreted without arduous reading of a manual; the design of the iPhone possessed similarities to the iPod, reinforcing its learnability through an accessible mental model, tapping into user expectations, and ultimately furthering a positive experience. The iPhone represents a product that respects its users’ time and effort through its ability to be easily learned and used.
Great products respect their users’ time and effort. Great products are easy to learn and consistent in their use.
The personal and social real estate was there too — I now had the phone that was deemed the best, most worthy, and relevant. The designers considered how the iPhone would make its user feel — the psycho-social aspects — and the smile on my face said it all.
Great products inspire emotion.
In short, many Apple products, specifically the iPhone, are useful, usable, and desirable. The iPhone makes life easier through providing us a way to communicate easily with others, check the time, search the internet, etc.— the device supports and promotes our daily habits, for better or for worse. It is a product successfully developed to solve the problem of needing to be home to call someone, have a watch to check the time, or wait to google something — not to mention, it is the platform where many other useful applications are accessed and engaged with.
Great products solve a real, deeply-felt need.
I can’t imagine life without the iPhone. It is indispensable to daily life because it addresses so many daily needs in an efficient and effective way. This is what makes it a great product… and why you’re probably using it to read this right now!