Think Different, Think Simplicity

Last Christmas after all the festivities and the big dinner –I settled down with my iPad and purchased Steve Job’s Biography. I was thinking how cool is it to buy and enjoy something on Christmas –without having to leave the house. Besides the only store opened on Christmas is the 7-11 and I didn’t need any batteries! So within seconds I was reading about the man who made this purchase possible.

Steve Jobs was a hippy turned computer geek, well soft of. He worked for Hewlett-Packard and Atari –then co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak. It seems that Wozniak, aka Woz created the Apple I while working after hours at HP. They were in the “Home Brew Computer Club” and with Bill Gates of all people. Apparently back in the early days of Apple, Jobs and Gates were friends. However they differed on one big fundamental idea and this [idea] was a critical difference between Microsoft and Apple. Jobs controlled every aspect of the Apple, and Gates believed in openness (70’s style, this was before the open source movement). Gates wanted his software to run on every computer in the world.

This openness made Microsoft very successful, yet it made their software very complex and buggy. Jobs on the other hand wanted simplicity, not just in how a device looked –but how it behaved. He put products before profits, and before he died –he had both!

As I was reading this book, I felt I knew this man. Furthermore I understood why Apple was Apple and why the iPhone was the iPhone and so forth. After I finished the book, I felt like I lost a friend. You see, I can relate to Jobs and I want to take his mantra, “Simplicity” into the tech workplace. How can we simplify our tech mission and align it to the mission of the company/agency? How can we offer excellence and a complete trouble free end-user experience? At the end of my read I am left with more questions than answers – however it is a start right?

So who has read Steve’s Bio? What are your thoughts? Do you believe that we techies need to think differently – in regards to our end-users?

Leave a Comment


Leave a Reply


I do think it’s something for IT shops to think about – how can we deliver a great end-user experience – think about it as much as consumer end-user experience – bring that thinking to the enterprise

Jerry Rhoads

@Bill, just downloaded it.

@ Steve, I agree –furthermore how does the end user experience make the mission of the Agency more successful.

Raymond Clark

I believe we expect too much from our tech breathern in regards to simlicity. Simplicity means ease of use, but more importantly, it means “process” simplicity. That involves much more then the interface between man and machine. It incompasses the entire activity. For example, ever go to a doctors office that uses the lates tech, but then have to sit there and fill out 4 xerox’d pages by hand, repearting your name on all four copies? Then they “load” the information into the computer? I even had an experience where I completed all my medical history, insurance, etc on line before I reached my appointment thinking we are now getting some place only to have to fill out xeorx’d pages by hand one I arrived. When I asked where my information when on line, I got a blank stair.

Computers don’t only need to consider the man-machine interface, but should also consider the man-process-machin relationships.

Jo Youngblood

Keeping the user in mind is absolutely critical. It’s not just about the functionality of the software but how a user goes about accessing that functionality that is even more critical. If the user doesn’t know what to do with the software, chances are they won’t use it and the benefit will be lost (and this may have nothing to do with the functionality of the software). However this kind of development does not typically lend itself well to Rapid development unless the developer has a deep familiarity and understanding of the user.

Soala Bryce

Is this book available worldwide though ie NZ. I wouldn’t mind buying a copy though. Definitely in favour of “simplicity” from an end-user point of view. Some sofwares are so complicated and when installed not all features works because you need to install add-ins etc etc, so “simplicity” is definitely a must for those that are not too technical savy!!

Janina Rey Echols Harrison

Years ago, I spent hours and hours doing data input. Then I started programming. When we tested, I continually went back and argued with the other programmers about putting in more time on the programming side to reduce the number of keystrokes and simplify input on the user end. Faster input meant money saved for the company. I was probably the only person in that group who was ever on the other end of the programming.

Jerry Rhoads

@ Janina good point –we techies always think out way is the best way. Great developers should put themselves in the user’s shoes and prentend they know 0 about the system.