The Jony Ive Principle
“I think the majority of our manufactured environment is characterized by carelessness…and we have genuinely tried to make products that don’t stand testament to those values, they stand testament to us desperately trying to make the very best product we can because we know someone like J.J. is going to sit down and stare at this screen. He will sense…he won’t be able to articulate it, but we hope that he will sense the care that went into it, and i do believe that we are capable of discerning far more than we are capable of articulating…”
— Jony Ive
The quote above was taken from a recent conversation between Jony Ive, J.J. Abrams & Brian Grazer at the Vanity Fair Summit this year. Reading it truly doesn’t do it justice so make sure to check out the video at the bottom of this page when you get to it.
What really resonated with me was this line:
I do believe that we are capable of discerning far more than we are capable of articulating…
Now think about that for a second…what Jony is so eloquently implying is that when he designs the products that touch millions of people on a daily basis, he doesn’t do it with the notion that we will experience it through our rational thinking brain, but that we will feel it through the deeper, less articulate, emotional one. The one that gives you trouble articulating the proper response to a question like:
“Why do you love that person?”
“Why did you quit your job to go work at a company that pays you less?”
This particularly resonates with me because today we live in an “MVP” first world that has swung so much on the side of having to ship something for the sake of shipping…or for the sake of selling it to our users as fast as possible, or meeting a price point, or hitting a schedule, or beating our competitor to market, or some other metric of the month…etc
I think we might have lost something.
I think we lost the care, thought, and love in our products. I think it’s the idea that we should make something enjoyable and fun just because it might put a smile on the users face and not because we need to hit some sort of click through rate. It’s the idea that next time you want to ship your “Uber for dogs” app, you sit there and fucking research the shit out of what the difference between a Pitbull and a Bulldog is before you even dare write a line of code.
It’s irrational. Or is it?
There’s probably no data to back it up but I’m sure it’s at least partly responsible for all of the great products we use. It might even be that “x-factor” we’re all so desperately trying to find.
Maybe it’s time we do what Jony does and focus on the things we probably can’t directly put a number on at the moment, or discern from a testimonial in a user test?
Maybe we should spend time on figuring out what really…REALLY matters to us and to the people who use the products we make, instead of throwing a bunch of darts at the board and see what sticks?
Maybe the reason all of our product design looks the same is because all of us are trying to quickly ship something and don’t want to take the time out to really dig deeply into the problem we want to solve. So we follow the same design patterns and we churn out the same soulless generic crap.
“Just throw some bootstrap on it!”
Those jellyfish, butterflies, and flowers on your Apple Watch were actual real jellyfish, butterflies, and flowers that were shot with a camera. They weren’t some animation design cranked out for an 8-point story in some team’s sprint. They shot one fucking flower for 285 hours, with over 24,000 shots, just so the first thing you see when you look at your wrist puts a smile on your face, and lights up a part of your brain that you didn’t even know you had.
Because they care about their craft.
Because they care about your experience.
That’s the Jony Ive Principle.
I want to share some of the products that really resonate with me because of the amount of work, care, love and thought I think were put into them.
What are some of yours? Share it in your response!
Who am I?
I’m an engineering-minded product designer and a design-minded iOS engineer from New York City. I also happen to be looking to join a team of passionate people to work on some great products.
If that interests you, lets chat: email@example.com or @danielrakh
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Published in #SWLH (Startups, Wanderlust, and Life Hacking)