I’ve been using a few Apple products lately, and I’m annoyed by the same basic problem in both the iPod Touch and the Apple Cinema Display monitor: Oversimplification of buttons for the purpose of clean design.

I get it, Apple. You think it’s cool to only have one button on the iPod Touch. Here’s the problem with that: It takes a bunch of extra clicks, not to mention a whole lot of counter-intuitiveness, to accomplish tasks that are simple and straightforward on an Android device. Not having a menu button is just like not having a right-click feature on a mouse; it makes tasks more complicated instead of simpler.

Yesterday I started using an Apple Cinema Display monitor in the office, and I’d never used one before. It’s a very sleek-looking monitor, and it has touch-sensitive brightness and power buttons on the right edge of the screen. However, I have a tendency to reach out and physically tilt the monitor up or down while I’m working. Sure enough, every time I do, I’m inadvertently adjusting the brightness or shutting off the monitor.

Good design doesn’t just mean that something is pleasing to the eye; it means that it’s actually well thought-out. There are plenty of things Apple does well, but they need a lot of help with buttons.


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