Bryan M Brush

AirPort Extreme & Design

I have always had a peculiar fascination with Apple’s choices around wireless routers. I have quite often told people, when asked what my favorite apple product is, that it’s an AirPort Express. That has changed since they switched to the current generation of them, however.

The Accidental Tech Podcast that was released today has a rather interesting discussion around the Design of the AirPort Extreme and routers in general. Definitely worth a listen as it really hones in on the importance of design for even those products we generally setup once and forget about.

Amazon Fire Phone

I will admit I haven’t had a chance to spend a lot of time looking over the information on this newly announced – but heavily rumored – phone from Amazon. However, the thing I’m seeing a lot of talk about is concerning Dynamic Perspective and the three dimensional aspect to the display. I will certainly be spending more time looking over this.

When it comes to Dynamic Perspective I feel that this is an interesting idea (although I don’t consider amazon to be the first to try it). However, if the UX is more important here than it would be for most other features and products. If it is not well designed I fear that this feature could quickly become more irritating to the end user than helpful. Thus far my friends who spend time on UI and UX design seem unimpressed.

As for the three dimensional aspect to the display I have been wondering why anyone would want this ever since the rumors of it first started rolling around the web. I can turn and twist my phone and my head to see three dimensional images, but I cannot immediately think of any great benefit to this. I will be considering possible benefits more over the next several days but the only one that comes to mind is shopping for products. Combined with the Firefly technology this definitely seems to be the case. Gruber stated in his typically succinct manner, “it seems optimized – perhaps unsurprisingly so – for making it easy to buy things on Amazon.” That is the same feeling I have about this phone and it makes me wonder if Amazon even considered their customers when designing this device. Initially I cannot help but feel they spent all their time wondering how they could hock more stuff on Amazon.

It’s also interesting to note that the product page on Amazon doesn’t mention 3D view once. Weird to make such a big deal out of it during an announcement but not mention it on the page that actually allows users to buy it. 

(Source: amazon.com)

First to Market

A video is spreading across the web that explains why Sony’s Betamax ended up being defeated by JVC’s VHS Cassette. It is interesting to see this video becoming viral on the day of its posting considering it is discussing technologies that are now considered obsolete.

Bill Hammack, AKA Engineer Guy, does a beautiful job of breaking down how the engineering behind a product, the marketing strategies, simple customer benefits, and the strategies behind establishing market share contribute to the success of a product. You can take a look at the video below. However, what stuck out to me most was his statement at 3:16. Bill States:

"The Betamax versus the VHS dispels the notion that simply being first to market is the most important issue."

This sent me thinking about the recent efforts of various companies to be first to market and the flops they have quickly become. Consider Samsung’s attempt at a smart watch for fear of a future release from Apple. Of course the comparison doesn’t fit perfectly because the most of the companies fighting to be first to market aren’t even producing quality products like Sony did with the Betamax. However, the point still stands a lot of companies could learn something by taking their time, analyzing markets, and keeping in mind the end user. The Betamax versus VHS story is a good example as to why. 


Beginnings

The more time I spend thinking about design the more I find an obsession with beginnings. There is an overwhelming amount of time devoted to analyzing, planning, and strategizing. Even when a good designer completes a project they immediately begin evaluating it and start looking for ways to improve the product and start the cycle over again. This could perhaps explain why so many of my friends who are designers seem quite miserable. They love their work and they create beautiful projects, but they are never completely satisfied. They are so good at what they do they end up focusing on minor pieces that can be improved rather than enjoying what they have created.

This concern can also stifle many of us from even getting started on a project or sharing the work we have done. I know I for one am incredibly guilty of this. For example I have attempted to design the structure the purpose of this website over and over again to the point I was never actually producing anything. Only recently have I realized that the best designers are often the ones who can create something, revel in it for some time, and then comfortably wipe the slate clean and start over. Producing something imperfect and being okay with that seems to be a fundamental stepping stone on the path to being a great designer. God is the greatest designer of all time according to my friends that believe in a higher power. But even God produced a world that initially appeared to be perfect but ended up being quite the opposite. Then, as the story goes God decided to wipe his design clean with a flood before starting over with only the pieces that were truly good. We could even argue that Revelations suggests that God knows this cycle of starting over will be a necessary step again in the future.

I will stop that comparison here before someone thinks I am claiming designers are gods. Although, I do have to admit that some of the designers I know certainly seem to think they are. What I am trying to say, however, is that perhaps we should start all new projects by declaring, “I will fail.” And that’s okay because our failures help us identify areas for improvement while simultaneously letting us see what worked well and should be retained. With that concept in mind I would like to begin this blog. I hope you enjoy watching me fail.

As a person who suffers from migraines this is one of the best new features of iOS 8. Thanks for listening, #Apple.

As a person who suffers from migraines this is one of the best new features of iOS 8. Thanks for listening, #Apple.

at Village of Mechanicsburg

at Village of Mechanicsburg

#tbt Pippin

#tbt Pippin

#tbt My #cat Pippin’s favorite place to sit.

#tbt My #cat Pippin’s favorite place to sit.

Thanks to @jchrist for another good visit to #Chicago.  (at Lake Shore Park)

Thanks to @jchrist for another good visit to #Chicago. (at Lake Shore Park)