First, let me start by stating that this topic is a good one for an instructional site that teaches computer programming, because all of you are designers in your own right.
The fact that you will be creating something original, demands that you consider the basic elements of design. Typical words associated with this might be functional, clean, efficient, intuitive, simple, unobtrusive, etc. The considerations are many, but as a programmer, you should keep these in mind when “designing” the critical components of your program or user interface.
Recently I watched the movie “Objectified” by Gary Hustwit. Various segments in the movie focused on Apple industrial design, early Grid laptop designs, user interfaces, etc. I began to think about my own Apple equipment (iPhone, iPad) and realised that the typical accolades for Apple industrial design, may be a little over rated. In this blog, I will focus one one aspect of these devices that recieves a lot of praise, the exterior design of the case. With the iPad, it’s beautiful and feels great to hold! That may be so, but is it that very beauty that gets in the way of it’s functionality ? It’s wonderful to hold, but slides off your lap. It’s protective Gorilla glass is smooth to the touch, but smudges excessively. Think about it, what is the first thing most people do, when they purchase an iPhone or iPad ? Pick out a case and probably a screen saver film to cover the glass. Whether it is to protect or improve function of the device, it is a design flaw none the less. After a sizable investment, why should I have to spend even more money to cover up the beautiful item I just bought, so that it functions properly? But now it just looks like a plastic case, not the beautiful device I bought and that sucks!
With the new Surface tablet from Microsoft, it appears as though they may have spotted these very attributes and added some innovative design to deal with these specific issues. A key feature is the integrated design of the stand into the tablet, which would solve the issue mentioned here. They too use Gorilla glass, so we will have to wait to see if the same smudging issue appears. In my opinion, the new tablet is not as beautiful as the iPad, but that may be a good thing. The new Surface tablet is clean and functional, built for a business user. This may be just what they need to re-establish the MS brand in the growing tablet market today.