Thursday, 6 October 2011

What should have you learned from Steve Jobs?



ApplenosteveI'm no Apple fan. I've tried several Apple products, but I wasn't satisfied at all. I'm just not their target everyday tech noob. I like to fiddle around with every little aspect of my systems. No hard feelings, we're not a good match, that's all.

Despite my incompatibility with the Apple philosophy, I truly admire Steve Jobs' absolute professional way of thinking. He gave the world some super-simple user interfaces by realizing that software is built for users. Users, who are most unlikely nerds. His stubborn and sometimes indecent attitude drove out those features which seam so obvious ever since, that it feels like you always had it.


So what I learned from him and think that every person involved in software craftsmanship should learn also? You produce for users. The one and only important thing to keep in mind while creating a feature is that it must be communicating it's intent and the value for your user. Nobody will want to use stuff they don't need. Nobody will use something if it's more complicated than what they can use. On the other hand, if your users feel that they are overlooked, you'll earn a bad reputation.

I feel that Apple products are less configurable than I'd like them to be, and they want me to use them the way they think I need to use them. I hate that, but for that genius targeting, I don't feel that Apple could be blamed. We're no match, I'm not their user. They produced for their users, that's all.

If we combine this theory with Agile thoughts, you can easily come to the core genius of Jobs:

  1. Grab yourself a feature from the perspective of a User, which has business value for you
  2. Identify the value and intent of that feature and marketing it well to both business and users so they truly understand it
  3. Make sure it can be reached and used the most convenient way for the target user
  4. Ensure that the functionality serves the intent
  5. Don't build anything more than that
  6. Never ever break any of the rules above

Rings any bells?

The way I see it, Steve Jobs did nothing else, than kept these rules without exception, and was a demanding user of his own products. He produced for those, who use Apple products and on the way he made us question the presence of overcomplicated interfaces.

I'm hating that my social sites are spammed with "RIP Steve" messages, but I found one which made me write this article:

If you want to honor Steve, don't mourn. Do your best work every day. Live your life to the fullest. Never settle. His spirit lives on.
via Sebastiaan de With

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