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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Simple is Better

Thomas Fitzgerald wrote an article today called, The Changing Role of the Personal Computer, and why The Mac leads the way. He claims that the personal computer is becoming an appliance and that users choose Mac's because they "...just work". Thomas then goes on to state that... "The idea of a Computing Appliance is something that fits so perfectly with Apple’s “Digital Lifestyle” message of the last few years that Microsoft has had to sit up and take note. People are beginning to realize that the operating system needs to get out of their way and let them do what the want."

I believe this to be true. If you frequent any Apple related forums on the internet the "I'm buying my first mac" posts are a daily occurance now. It would be impossible to put a number on how many people switch to Apple a day, but I guarantee that its just the beginning! Apple enthusiasts have been called fanatics for a reason, its almost like a cult. Users become preachers on a mission to convert their families, friends and coworkers. Follow me, I will show you the path of righteousness! If you glance at the other camp, do you see any strays wandering back to the mother ship? I have no real numbers to go by, but I would venture to say that Apple to Windows switchers are FEW and FAR between. Is it because Macs "just work"?

Apple's strategy to create a digital lifestyle has payed off big. They have made it so easy to use your computer to create content and manage media that many Apple users claim huge productivity boosts on their Mac. Malware, spyware, viruses, system crashes all completely defeat the purpose of a computing machine. Why spend time dealing with these annoyances when users can sidestep them 'almost' entirely and use their computer for what they please?

Usability is key! Back in the Windows 3.1, 95 days, and to some extent Windows 98 there was likely only one application or method to complete a task. But today there are hundreds. How do you weed through the crap an accomplish anything? Usability! By simplifying the users experience you not only increase their productivity, but also the enjoyment of their experience. Whats more fun to show off, a home made movie you created in an hour or a 5 day hodgepodge that you've had to start from scratch 3 times due to crashes? Society uses their computers for such a wide range of purposes. The experience needs to be efficient, enjoyable, and successful and this takes place when the OS is unobtrusive. Simple is better!

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