I think my biggest problem is that no-one really knows how to do design anymore.

Design Plagiarism

In this case Savov was writing about Huawei’s copycat wireless earbuds. But the most telling example — which Savov himself has documented better than anyone else — is the iPhone X notch. The notch is unquestionably the worst thing about the iPhone X design — it is a worthwhile compromise, but a severe and glaring one. But it lends the iPhone X a distinctive look and can be easily copied, and so of course these companies are shamelessly copying it. Anything they can copy from a successful Apple product, they do. (How many PC laptops look like MacBooks?)

Here’s the problem I have with all of this: no-one designs from the ground up anymore. It’s all copying designs and marketing and strategy–without any real understanding of why the compromises or the reasons for the design decisions.

Now it’s not surprising that Chinese companies blatantly copy Apple. The whole point is for people to walk around with devices that look like the elite leader without paying elite leader prices.

But so much design done by various companies ripping off each other have no fucking idea the first principles of design.

Meaning I don’t care if one company implements the functions and features from another device. But if you don’t have an understanding of the way information flows between screens, the concepts behind affordances and giving rapid and timely feedback to users, to concepts such as the magical number 7, and other design issues like giving users feedback for processes that take longer than 1/4th of a second to complete and a way to cancel operations that take longer than a second–then the best you can do is make a very piss poor copy.

It’s all cargo cult development.

And the user suffers as a result.

The sad part is that many of these companies would be better off forging their own direction, copying concepts from the 1990’s, than copying from Apple without understanding why those design decisions were made.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s