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Microsoft Once Again Beat Apple, Google And Tesla
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Don Norman is a technological optimist. The author of The Design of Everyday Things and head of UC San Diego's Design Lab believes that artificial intelligence might only take the worst parts of our jobs, and when it gets smart enough, it will pity us rather than destroy humanity. On these points, the scientist in him admits that he might be wrong, but Norman would prefer to live his life hoping for the best. Because nobody wants to go to sleep at night expecting a Terminator in his bed in the morning.
But that doesn’t mean Norman isn’t critical of the direction of Silicon Valley’s powerhouse companies often celebrated for merging technology and design. In a casual, stream-of-consciousness conversation with Co.Design, Norman dissected what’s wrong with Apple, Google, Microsoft, and, as a little bonus we pushed for, Tesla.
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In 2015, Norman penned a scathing review of Apple's design. We asked if he'd seen the company improve since then.

"I think Apple’s products have gotten worse, not better.
"I think in a number of areas, the quality of design has deteriorated [worldwide], and I think it’s because traditional designers have come back. Design is a complex field, and design itself sort of emerged accidentally as a craft. Only recently has it become a real field with real principles. There’s a real tension between the people I represent, who care a lot about whether or not people can understand and use a product, and the more traditional view, and the look and feel—the aesthetic.
"There's nothing the matter with [aesthetic design]. Doing that doesn't mean it has to be unintelligible, or making something intelligible and easy to use makes you lose aesthetic beauty and nice feel, but the people who understand how to make something understandable are a different type of people. They come from psychology, computer science, science. They understand the need of testing and data analysis.
"More traditional designers are more applied artists. They claim they take a human-centered approach, but they do it by thinking about the people, which is not the same things as using or testing with people.
"As design has suddenly become popular, the wrong designs have suddenly become popular [as they have at Apple].
"I’d argue that those of us trained in the science side are not really good at making wonderful, delightful, emotionally pleasing objects, because we lack those design skills, but the designers with those skills lack the understanding of making those things usable and understandable.
"If only we could bring those two groups together! And that’s happening more and more. But Apple is driven by someone [Jony Ive] with a very traditional design background."

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