Talking about Dribble is undercutting exactly how stupidly static the western idea of ‘good design’ is. Instead, we can look at how dominant themes in design go back to being influenced by Apple’s design standards from the early 1980s, which themselves are basically a simplified and dumbed-down version of late-1940s and early-1950s trends in modernist minimalism.

While there were plenty of interesting ideas in design from 1950 to 1980, because of Jobs’ reality distortion field we basically threw all of that out and have been increasingly influenced by this static throwback FrogDesign BS that was pretty questionable in 1979 (along with the underlying Jobsian ideology that consumers are too dumb to deal well with choices and must have decisions made for them — a necessary element in the application of extreme minimalism to ostensibly general-purpose machinery).

Today’s idea of good design is essentially: flat, spare, minimalist graphics with low information density and few user choices. Never use color if you can use white; never use two colors where you can use one; never use two buttons where you can use one and never use any buttons if you can get away with not having any; never give the consumer an option if you can please more than half of them by choosing first; if a user disagrees with a designer about usability then the user is wrong. These rules make some sense for a house or a toaster, and are defensible for a coffee machine or a toilet; they make no sense when applied to computers and even less sense when applied to computer software.

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Resident hypertext crank. Author of Big and Small Computing: Trajectories for the Future of Software.

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