Andy Hertzfeld

17 Jul

I just came across a great interview with Andy Hertzfeld, one of the designers who worked on the original Apple design team back in 1979. He’s now working for Google and was a key designer in the development of Google+. If you’re on Google+, you already know that they’ve made some incredible advances in design and user interface, or UI as the cool nerds say. In reading the interview it becomes very obvious why he is keeps getting hired by these technology juggernauts. I thought I’d pull out a few of the quotes that really stood out. Although he’s mainly a UI/coder guy,  I think his points are relevant to designers of any sort.

‘…even before I know what I am doing I am sort of, doing it. The way to make great UI is through tight iteration. You’ve gotta try things out. At least, I’ve never been smart enough to know an idea is going to work until I try it. So I, as quickly as I can, I get something going that is just the barest at first. I try to get to the essence of the idea as quickly as I can. But that sometimes takes a while so you just get a framework going and then you start iterating it, making it better and better.’

When asked what’s most important when developing new designs…

‘Well, feedback. I believe it’s an iterative process. It’s never good enough, you can always make it better. So, you have to get as many users as you can as quickly as you can. Even to this day, like what I’m working on today, the second I have my feature working, the first thing I’ll do, I’ll turn to the guy next to me, “Hey what do you think of this?”

You have to be willing to throw things away when you have the better idea… I think it’s really the main difference between the good designer and the great designer is as soon as you see a better way, you have to be willing to go with it, even though it could be very painful to throw away what took you two months to develop. Just because you’ve done that, doesn’t mean it’s the way you should do it. Often each iteration of the design is a stepping stone to the next one.’

Here‘s the whole interview.

Here he is with the original Apple design team (top centre…with the sweet spectacles!)


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