Transdisciplinary Design


Posted on October 7, 2011 | posted by:

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” –Steve Jobs

After I finished my late dinner, I checked on the Internet to see what’s going on in the world as usual as I do. Click! My front page came – Yahoo! My eyes were suddenly captured by the headline- “Steve Jobs Pass Away in his 56 Years of Age”. All of the sudden, the article claimed an end of a generation of Apple. I was depressed about losing him and using his products at the same time. A lot of questions came to my mind about how he transformed our generations. Why was he so successful in delivering his products into our hands? What we can learn from his products and his approach to design?

I claim that most of the people must have heard of Apple, Macintoch, i-Products and Steve Jobs! And most of us even have more than one Apple’s gadgets. Actually, there are several on my table. I think first of all, the operation system really gives the non- technology geek user a chance to get close to technology; even a housewife could operate it easily. One more example, i-Pad comes in the box without anything, without even instructions. We are fine operating it innately as there is an easy setup process, and everything is already designed into the system. Designing the experience while designing the system at the same time provide an easy approach to the user.

I find that i-Products are highly cross- disciplinary design products and a nonlinear system. They include technology, service, system, interface, applications…etc. Steve Jobs said, “A company can’t do everything, Apple need to collaborate with companies that work really well in their fields.” i-Products produce a platform for different businesses to come together as personal services, which attract people from diverse cultures, lifestyles, careers, classes and genders. The varieties of choice offer individuals the opportunity to decide their own interfaces and needs. It is also a “sharing” platform, which connect people and business closely. With a few taps you can get music from all over the world and share yourself to the world. They have been increasing input and output (communications) since the advent of the products.

“You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.”- Steve Jobs

Apple doesn’t do market research, however the ideas of products come from the intuitions of the design team. The product will predict the consumer’s need rather than the consumer desire in the moment. Many people claim that they don’t need an i-Phone when it first introduced to the market, because the function they wanted from mobile phones are for contacting people. Surprisingly after a period of time, there are i-Phones within their pockets. Apple innovates its products five years ahead of us. The design team seemed very clear that mobile phone would have merged with other services. Service providers, i-Tune and i-Product come together become a system working well for providing music and other services. The nonlinear system bridges various services from cross to fields, from magazine to television, food to book, fashion to car, music to art, design to writing…etc.

In my opinion, i-System reduces a lot of weightiness for us in which it makes easy for us to live in a complex system. My memory flashed back in my mind that my first time using Macintoch was in my 10 years old during computer session. That was the first commercially personal computer to use graphical user interface. I was taught to use code to command the little green triangle to draw simple lines. In comparison, this is a huge evolution of system that has been made in technology.

Thanks, Steve!