nook leapfrogs kindle

Ok, i want one of these…there was something about the kindle, that made me wonder if I should plunk down $300, uh ok, $250 (since the intro of nook).  I was unsure when I wrote about this a while back and am now certain, that i won’t buy a kindle.

nook

For now, until i can go to Barnes and Noble to buy one, my thoughts based on what i’ve read on the web and what i can see in pics:

Look: winner Nook – ok the Nook is nice and clean, not a stunning design, the Kindle 2…pretty darn bland, i can see the braun/rams/bauhaus inspiration, but, still just too plain. And the original Kindle, well honestly, that thing was pretty ugly, I mean, look at that keyboard.

Kindle-orig

Technology: winner Nook – dual screens, gotta love it
UI: winner Nook – jury out, but the potential of, the dual screens!
Experience – Nook – bring it to a Barnes and Noble and read stuff for free. Phyigital Reality, making digital things act like real life things
Cool Factor: Nook

kindle-2

minus ten July 1999

id-mag-cover-july-1999

“minus ten”. A look back 10 years to see what was going on. I’ll pick out what I feel got Stuck in Time, good or bad design that was clearly of the moment. Ahead of Time will be a look at something that had brought some insight to the future and finally, the Test of Time will soon be design classics, at least imho.

Hey how about that, my friend Paul Pierce’s work ON THE COVER!  I wonder what he thinks of this thing now!

ID Annual 1999, there’s gotta be some good pickin’s for this post:

Stuck in Time:

astro-1999

group shots are always stuck in time…can you say big balls!

Ahead of Time

audi-tt-1999

OK i may be biased, I lined up and paid extra to get this car…call me a sucker.

Ahead of Time AND Stuck

ebooks-1999

above, dated, below better, but those triangle buttons, dated, the concept of ebook readers….AHEAD

WAY Stuck in Time, actually BEHIND the times…

printer-1999

Memphis Group disbanded in 1988, this was designed in 1999…uh hello?

Test of Time

fluke-1999

So this may not win a beauty contest, (oh wait, it did!) but this aesthetic has definitely stood the test of time for this type of product.  The colors have a stood the test of time…Rugged.

So I’m a little disappointed that there weren’t more things that stood the test of time or were ahead of time.  Some things that made this issue I had already covered…Karim for Issey Miyake but that’s about it. LOTs of stuff that got stuck, frog, lunar (me!), apple, ideo, phillips all guilty.

There was one product from Design Central that was way ahead of time, but only got a shitty black and white spot and honorable mention. They did a rubberized shoe, form fitting, all one piece, molded in tread…copied several years later, or uh borrowed or mistakenly reinvented by the likes of fuseproject, crocs and any student who did a shoe project and knew how to use alias.

shoe-copy

From ID Magazine July 1999

The successful Kindle

Below is my reply to Bruce Nussbaum’s Design blog about the Kindle titled “Amazon’s Kindle Is A Success–Hooray For Designer Bob Brunner.” I’ve modified my post below a bit so it makes sense without reading Bruce’s post and the readers comments.

Does good design make a product “successful”? Does bad design kill the chances of success? From the replies above, we have a UI and Experience professional saying the ergonomics of the Kindle are bad. Walt Mossberg also confirms this in his review. We’ve also got someone pointing out that “ecosystem” is what is making this successful. And finally, the host of this column (Bruce) says its Oprah and Bob’s great design work, which once again, some folks aren’t happy with. And now we can go back to the start and continue to debate the Kindle’s success. But let’s not.

What also makes this interesting is that we’ve got some very qualified folks speaking to the pros and cons of this device. Of course, they probably haven’t debated in person on this topic, but all present a different POV on the product’s success. So what is the missing component here in this dialog of design? According to Amazon’s figures, its the 240,000 consumers who have bought this thing. What I wonder is, how many of these consumers are “design saavy or qualified” like the blogger and the responders here? And, as Rob (a responder) points out, I’ll bet that those 240,000 people trust Oprah more than any of us qualified “designers”.

I’m a product designer as well, I know Andy and Bob and they both do great work. On a similar, yet off path…What I’ve always wondered about is the Designer/Consumer taste barometer, that is when the consumer wants something that most designers don’t. Like fake wood grain for instance, the designers fight it, “oh my god, there is no way I’ll put fake wood grain on a product”. Yet, somehow, with all those designers fighting it, that fake wood still gets out in the market!

I guess the other question is, is a commercially successful product, always well designed? Seems like, not.