Thursday, 6 October 2011

A lasting legacy

A few days ago, there was an interesting article in The American comparing Steve Jobs to Thomas Edison. The gist is that Jobs' legacy doesn't measure up to Edison's - mainly because people are generally unaware of how much Edison achieved in his lifetime (it was a lot).

Putting to one side the fact we're not comparing apples with apples, if you'll pardon the pun, I think we're still a long way from realising the extent of Jobs' impact. You can see it far, far beyond Apple's product line. By setting the bar so high, he's forced the entire technology market to change the way they design their products over the past 10 years. I see Jobs' legacy in every phone, every computer, every tablet - anything technological which has an interface. Products formally seen as 'good' are now mercilessly mocked, and don't last long.

Our expectations have gone up. Through the roof.

But the true legacy reaches much further than the technology market. It can be seen in the way we design everything - from physical products, to services, to transport systems, to web sites. We want everything to work better, no exceptions, no excuses.

Of course there have always been companies with a strong customer service record. But given how technology in general, and the web in particular, weaves its way through every aspect of our lives, having such a fantastic cheerleader in the technology world for putting the user experience first - and actually showing how it should be done - has benefitted everyone and everything.

Our ambition for every project, both here at The Team and at previous employers too, reflects this march of progress. We're always thinking about the end user, whether it's a company employee, citizen, customer or student. Whether we're designing services, products, websites, posters, or anything else. All good companies and agencies do this now. And I think Steve Jobs and his colleagues can take some of the credit for this.

Thanks Steve!

(Thanks also to Jonathan Mak for the Apple / Jobs logo)