Good design isn't timeless

People throw this turn of phrase around endlessly, but I investigated a different perspective and iterated upon the cliché.

Making the case that design isn't timeless

Let us take the humble iPod, once revered for its beautiful design. Jony Ive was elevated to mainstream stardom as the designer of the iPod. His work started with that colourful iMac at Apple, but it was the iPod that marked the change in fortunes for Apple.

The iPod is used by every thought leader as an anecdotal story of how doing X will lead to success. Often at the expense of the Zune, I almost feel sorry for that hulk of silicone it gets such a bad rap.

People hail the sound dial, the digital medium, the marketing even the belief that the product made people feel different. 

A timeless design surely? But today how much of the iPod's design is still in use today? How much of its DNA is even in products today?

The device

Well if you can even find someone using a dedicated music player, it won't reflect the majority. 

The dial

Most music players now are on phones. The interface largely sits in the background, many control it by voice or other automation. Most people will be familiar with a simple skip and pause UI. The dial has long gone both physically and digitally.

The format

MP3s are basically dead, nobody uses MP3s downloaded to a device anymore, most people are using streaming services to transfer the digital media over the air. The entire paradigm of storage has gone and a new of music as a service has arrived instead. 

Design is timely

Example of failure

Example of the digital camera success


Good read

Let me first point out, if you haven’t read Thaler’s nudge or have a...

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