Kenneth Grange, industrial designer:

Apple is enjoying a reputation as the maker of the sleekest things. But… [t]heir things are overdesigned. I’ve got a Mac Mini upstairs and every morning I try and fail to find the button on the back.

Power switches are a design issue horrendously more complex than their size and the simplicity of their function. Ask Don Norman, or try to start a car with keyless ignition. But:

  • The power button is on the right-hand side as viewed from the front, as it must be to suit most people.

    Rear of Mac Mini, with flush power button at left
  • You can just turn the product around if it’s giving you that much trouble.

  • You aren’t supposed to turn a Macintosh off every day – an ancient DOS/Windows concept that hasn’t been applicable to Macs in a decade. Just put the machine to sleep via any of several methods (including walking away from it or tapping the power button).

At any rate, does a single problem a single designer has with a single product, even if it happens every day due to his own misunderstanding, prove that Apple designers are, as he put it in the interview, “up their own arse, to be honest”? Isn’t this anecdotalism at its worst?

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2011.07.19 13:13. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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