I was looking at the car display in my wife’s new Toyota and had a double take when I changed the volume. The display literally reads “VOL_##”. Who would ship that? Even more baffling was the fact that my own older car of the same make doesn’t have this ugly format at all. Surely this was the result of some i18n(”VOL_07″) and the mapping to “Volume 07″ was missing?
This started to remind me of the sliding scale of design and fashion awareness that I see out there. Here are some stereotypes:
Have you met those people who couldn’t care less about fashion? Well, not even that…. they can’t even see the difference in quality. You give them two pieces of clothing, or two user experiences, and they have no preference what-so-ever. These people have no idea why some folk much prefer Mac. They would never notice or care about
VOL_07 and more power to them.
The A/B Eye Test
Next up you have the folks who can tell that something is “better”. They love their iPhones, although they can’t really tell you why. If you put two UIs in front of them they will tell you that they prefer A over B, but can’t *really* articulate why. They get it at an unconscious level.
My eyes! my eyes!
Then you have the folks who are personally pained by unfashionablistas. VOL_07 and Android UIs make their eyes bleed. They think that Google needs to hire some designers for many of their products.
When given the A/B test, they are able to discern what they like and dislike about a given design, and they come up with things to improve. They get it.
Then there are the folks who can go to the next level. They can create great design. It can look good in the current fashion, or the best ones are able to make the future. They come up with new amazing interactions and visuals. They make you love their product.
Now, of course these are gross generalizations. I can jump around a little between these categories even depending on my mood that day. I can amaze myself coming up with something decent one day, and then be staring at crap another. Kinda like my golf game…. you hit enough good balls that you are willing to come back some time to play again.
I really enjoy watching folks in the top two categories. Ben is one of those guys. I can stare at the same thing as him and he will find 20 holes in it that I do not. Watching a creator such as Sean Martell wielding his Wacom tablet is a sight to beyond. Watching greatness at work.
Where do you fit?