Secrets of Apple design: A Steve Wozniak quote on designing products to work the way humans work.
I wrote recently that for some areas of design, we need to get away from thinking like humans -- with our inherent physical limitations -- if we're going to make the next great inventions. (That article is no longer available, but it consisted of excercises like getting down on the floor, and looking at the world from the perspective of a child or a small animal; or standing on a desk, and seeing what things would look like if you were 10' tall.)
As a counter to those design ideas, I want to make sure I noted the following that I got from a recent Steve Wozniak interview:
"When you make things for humans, make them work like humans work".
I'm writing this from memory, but I thing Wozniak's quotes were "Make products to simplify the things in your life", and "Make things work like humans work." He was probably talking about the Apple II, and how it included a keyboard, monitor, graphics, and color when no other computer system did, as well as the iPod.
He was quoting Steve Jobs when he said these things, and I think it's a very important concept. As software developers we often do things that are easiest for us, then let the rest of society suffer for using our applications. The same can be said about people that make uncomfortable chairs, cars, and basically anything else that humans use. Shame on you if you make something that's basically good but doesn't conform to the way humans work -- if there's an economic battle being fought, you deserve to lose.
In a slightly-related note, here are links to a couple of design books I've read on this subject that I can recommend:
Both books are a little old, but I like them.