3 Things Steve Jobs Has Inadvertently Taught Us About Web Design
Steve Jobs is often associated with a few things: The Macintosh, his impeccable eye for detail, the frightening, often mythical stories that surround him and… web design?
Well, no. Not web design. Definitely not web design. The iPod, iPhone, iMac and Safari, maybe, yes, but not web design.
But if there’s anything that Jobs has taught us through his often brilliant and seemingly limitless streaks of innovation and creative inspiration, it’s that details matter. The placement of specific ports, the size and resolution of the screens and even the placement of the logo are all important decisions that Jobs and thus Apple would incorporate in all of their products.
“I know that. I get it,” you argue. “But how does any of that relate to web design?”
Here are just a few ways in which that Jobs work ethic and attention to detail can be applied to web design.
1. Don’t Complicate It
Just like how customers don’t like to be presented with a confusing array of choices and alternatives when perusing stores, customers also don’t like confusing interfaces and long, boring copy when browsing a website.
And that sort of thinking is epitomized by the original iPod’s slogan of, “1000 songs in your pocket.” That tag-line is relatable, relevant and describes the iPod’s primary purpose and goals in just a few words.
Which is so important when it comes to creating successful websites. Confusing lists of navigation buttons, long-winded copy and endless streams of buttons are all just ways for websites to further alienate customers. After all, websites are typically one of your few online avenues to convince people to buy into your services or purchase your products.
The solution is to keep it simple. Keep copy concise and to the point. Tell your customers exactly what they can expect and in terms that are simple for them to understand.
2. Experience Is Far More Important Than Numbers
Apple’s original iPad was met with both acclaim and skepticism. Many loved its simplicity, but other hated it because they felt it was essentially an enlarged iPod. Because they felt it brought nothing new to the table in the form of interface or processing ability.
But if the success of the iPad has proven anything, it’s that maybe numbers are far more confusing and much less rewarding than they might chalk themselves up to be. It’s proven that having a simple, accessible user interface is arguably the most important aspect of designing a product.
And the same can be said for websites, too. Although websites can include as much copy, confusing links and ‘click here now!’ buttons as a business prefers, the best designed ones are often simple and easy to understand. They are almost completely devoid of confusing menus and layouts, and often guide customers into making the decisions they would like to make. An excellent example of this is Duck Duck Go, essentially a no-frills, early version of what Google used to be.
3. Failure Sometimes Leads To Innovation
If Jobs had proven anything early on in his career, it was that nobody was necessarily immortal. That even the most brilliant minds are often forced to rethink their ways in order to do something truly spectacular.
After being ousted from Apple, and building the eventual failure that was NeXT, Inc., Jobs had undoubtedly hit a rough patch in his life. His efforts building a seamless operating system had failed during his time at NeXT, and his one-track minded and often polarizing attitude at Apple forced him to rethink how he went about guiding companies.
But, eventually, when he was brought back into Apple, those shortcomings went a long way in helping guide him through his tenure at Apple. His earlier failures had aided him in guiding a nearly bankrupt company in 1997 to one of the most valuable companies in the world just 14 years later.
That’s important for websites, too. Not every website design and redesign will be an instant success. Often, it may take weeks if not months of fine-tuning and making slight changes before your company will create the ideal website. It may draw in half the level of traffic that you were originally expecting, and severely undercut your expectations of the true value of a website.
Which is why it’s important to realize that often, true success takes failure. Failures, even.
But success is never easy and is rarely guaranteed. That’s why, for a website to be successful, one can’t simply create it and ignore it. Successful businesses gauge the level of interest in their web presences and, when they are waning, actively work to improve upon that. Work, not flair, is ultimately what builds successful online presences.
Source: MSM DesignZ, Inc. is a Westchester based NY web design firm specializing in SEO, social media, web and graphic design and much more.