I just got a new book on web development: The Substance of Style, by Virginia Postrel. One of the cover blurbs describes it as an analysis of a major new phenemenon: that people care more about how stuff looks.

To me this a book about the role of looks in software development. What is the value of looks to a user? How do I manage the tradeoffs between usability and style?

In the back of mind what I’m thinking about is Apple’s natural instinct for graphics, and the way they pushed the state of the developers’ art beyond Jakob Neilsen. Given that nothing ever ever ever trumps usability, and that excessive design always always repels users, how does Apple manage the balance so much better than other developers?

3 thoughts on “reading

  1. how is that a new development?
    Also, I question whether or not that’s true. There have been studies (can’t find them but trust me) stating that people prefer pages with more text that’s easier to read. Clients like flashy (literaly and figuratively) web pages, but I’m not sure if users always do.

  2. Customers really do love Apple’s way with sexed up products, though. And Apple’s ability to both sex things up and make stellar user friendliness seems to be impossible if there’s a tradeoff.

    That ability to do both is what catches my attention and what I want to emulate.


  • Lucas Gonze’ blog » substance of style

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *