Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Old Apple laptops used to have the logo upside down. It wasn't an oversight but a user-friendliness decision.

This should be interesting for those of you that like to think about usability in technology. The Apple logo on old Apple laptops used to be upside down when you opened the lid. Why would Steve Jobs, the perennial perfectionist permit that?

The answer is that it was for the laptop owner's sake. Look at your current Apple laptops, which have the logo on the right side when open. If you close the computer, you'll notice that the logo is facing away from you.

In their studies, when a laptop had the logo facing away from the user (so it wasn't backwards when open) people would attempt to open the laptop from the wrong side.

This brought up an interesting decision between usability (aka making it intuitive which side the laptop was supposed to be opened from) and design (making the laptop look pretty to others when it was open). In the beginning Steve Jobs decided usability came before design.

Eventually the Apple design group (and Jobs) decided that while on one hand it's a usability problem to have the logo facing away from the users, most people will probably only attempt to open the laptop on the wrong way once or twice, and then learn how to open it.

On the other hand, the problem of having the logo facing the wrong way when the laptop was open lasted for a much longer time, and the decision (and the logo) were reversed. It's reported that this was a problem for tv- and filmmakers who would even sometimes put Apple stickers on products so that the logo was displayed the right way