Ex-Apple designer dispels myths about the company’s design process

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Regardless of hardware preference, it seems as though people can’t get enough of stories about Apple. While this is partially due to the company’s success, the interest stems mostly from the secrecy that cloaks the Apple’s decisions and processes; people want to know what went on behind the closed doors of the House that Jobs Built. Whenever an ex-Apple employee speaks up on their time at the company, we listen.

This time its Mark Kawano, a former senior designer at Apple who worked on Aperture and iPhoto before becoming a user experience evangelist helping third-party iOS developers build software that fit the iPhone’s nascent app ecosystem. Kawano’s candid interview with Fast Company runs counter to many commonly held notions about Apple’s design process, namely that it has the best designers.

“I think the biggest misconception is this belief that the reason Apple products turn out to be designed better, and have a better user experience, or are sexier, or whatever . . . is that they have the best design team in the world, or the best process in the world. It’s actually the engineering culture, and the way the organization is structured to appreciate and support design. Everybody there is thinking about UX and design, not just the designers. And that’s what makes everything about the product so much better . . . much more than any individual designer or design team.”

Kawano also revealed that Apple’s design teams are much smaller for core products than at other companies – with as few as 100 designers working on a project. Teams were filled with highly capable generalists able to play a variety of design roles throughout the process.

Of course, no Apple story would be complete without a Steve Jobs story, and Kawano argues against the notion that Jobs was scary to work for.

“The reality is, the people who thrived at Apple were the people who welcomed that desire and passion to learn from working with Steve, and just really were dedicated to the customer and the product. They were willing to give up their weekends and vacation time. And a lot of the people who complained that it wasn’t fair . . . they didn’t see the value of giving all that up versus trying to create the best product for the customer and then sacrificing everything personally to get there.”

The complete Fast Company interview is worth a read and can be found at the source link below.

[source]Fast Company[/source]