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Avant Garde vs. Usable Interface Design

February 19th, 2010

Catching up on my RSS reader I ran across this post from Gizmodo:

Windows Phone 7 Interface: Microsoft Has Out-Appled Apple

Article here [gizmodo.com].

Oh. Provocative. Go read it. I’ll wait.

Back? Ok then. Now, opinions are like ass holes; everybody’s got one (well, not not everyone [wikipedia.org].) but I want to poke fun at Jesus’ opening opinion:

Windows Phone 7 feels like an iPhone from the future. The UI has the simplicity and elegance of Apple’s industrial design, while the iPhone’s UI still feels like a colorized Palm Pilot.

Yea the Windows Phone 7 UI looks cool, and it remains to be seen if users will actually like it when it gets into the hands of all those people with ass holes opinions. But I’m going to bet on the oh-so-boring Palm Pilot-esque grid layout the iPhone uses.

Why? Same reason I don’t think everyone will be sitting on a Feel Seating System Deluxe [animicausa.com] sofa. The tired old sofa that your parents have might be musty and hold too many memories of the 70’s or 80’s to be healthy but there is a reason it looks like almost every other sofa in every other normal house in the world for the past, oh, I don’t know, 1000 years or so.

The basic design of the sofa — as used in the real world outside of the Milan furniture fashion show world — hasn’t changed much over the years. That’s a testament to one thing: it works. And while every furniture designer out there wants to do something new and original, so they make crazy sofas [freshome.com] (or crazy chairs, tables, etc.) their designs don’t change our platonic ideal of the sofa because they just aren’t practical in the end. Um, that’s why we call it fashion, different doesn’t mean good.

So, unless the Windows Phone 7 UI breaks down to a grid layout (or list layout) in the end, with some funky cool icons, I’m betting it eventually will by hook or software update.

Then again, this is just my ass hole opinion, feel free to ignore it. Oh yea, and I’ve been itching to use that sofa metaphor in a blog post for about a year.

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