Former Apple VP: I wrote the book on user-friendly design and what I see today horrifies me

“As people grow older, their total life expectancy increases. So for those who are now 65, the average life expectancy is 83 for men and over 85 for women,” Don Norman writes for Fast Company. “And because I’m 83, I’m expected to live past 90 (but I’m aiming a lot higher than that). And these are averages, which means that perhaps half of us will live even longer.”

“Those of us who are still active and healthy at advanced ages–I qualify–discover that we aren’t quite as capable as our younger selves. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t healthy and workable – I still have a very active job and travel on business around the world, but I have to admit that I’m getting slower and weaker, with diminished eyesight, hearing, taste, touch, and, well, almost everything physical,” Norman writes. “The number of active, healthy oldsters is large – and increasing. We are not a niche market. And businesses should take note: We are good customers often with more free time and discretionary income than younger people.”

“Despite our increasing numbers the world seems to be designed against the elderly. Everyday household goods require knives and pliers to open. Containers with screw tops require more strength than my wife or I can muster,” Norman writes. “Companies insist on printing critical instructions in tiny fonts with very low contrast. Labels cannot be read without flashlights and magnifying lenses. And when companies do design things specifically for the elderly, they tend to be ugly devices that shout out to the world ‘I’m old and can’t function!’ We can do better.”

“Take the screen design for Apple’s phones. The designers at Apple apparently believe that text is ugly, so it should either be eliminated entirely or made as invisible as possible. Bruce Tognazzini and I, both former employees of Apple, wrote a long article on Apple’s usability sins ,which has been read by hundreds of thousands of people. Once Apple products could be used without ever reading a manual. Today, Apple’s products violate all the fundamental rules of design for understanding and usability, many of which Tognazzini and I had helped develop,” Norman writes. “These thoughtless, inappropriate designs are not limited to Apple.”

Read more in the full article – very highly recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: The companies and designers who listen to what Don Norman is saying and design accordingly will prosper!

Please also read “How Apple Is Giving Design A Bad Name” by Don Norman and Bruce Tognazzini (Fast Company, November 10, 2015) here.

How Apple is giving design a bad name – November 11, 2015
Tog: Apple is still the king of design and innovation; they will again change everything, no doubt about that whatsoever – July 16, 2013
Tog: The iWatch will fill a gaping hole in the Apple ecosystem – February 7, 2013
Tog: Steve Jobs’ Mac formula keeps getting better and better – April 20, 2010
Tog: How to improve iPhone’s Springboard for power users – October 9, 2009
Tog: Apple’s iPhone will be a hit and why it’s so far ahead – June 28, 2007
Tognazzini: Glorious iPhone embodies the genius of Steve Jobs’ Apple – January 19, 2007

This article was originally posted here