Posted on May 7, 2009 by Dennis Snow
Apple rightly gets a lot of credit for product design. They’ve somehow mastered the art of creating intuitive applications that others have yet to duplicate, or at least have yet to duplicate as effectively as the Apple original. I hope to pick up my iPhone tomorrow!
But, I must say that Amazon’s Kindle is right up there with the best designed products I’ve seen. If you’re not familiar with the Kindle, check it out here. I just got one for my birthday (my 50th!?!) and absolutely love it. I’m always reading and with the amount of travel I do I’m usually lugging at least two or three books with me. But no more! The Kindle holds 1,500 books which should last me quite some time. Searching for and downloading books takes mere seconds, and I’ve already downloaded several novels and business books, as well as issues of my hometown newspaper to read while I’m on the road. This week they’ve released a new version, the Kindle DX that’s larger and appropriate for reading newspapers and textbooks, but I’m perfectly happy with my version.
I have to admit I was skeptical at first. I like the feel of a book in my hands and with business books I do a lot of highlighting and note taking. Well, it turns out you can highlight and take notes with the Kindle, along with the capability of going directly to any highlight or note you desire. I was also concerned about the size of the font, since I’m getting old. Turns out you can adjust the font size. What about finding where you left off in your reading of a book? You can “dog ear” your page for instant access. There’s also a search function so you can look up any word in the book (like a story character’s name you want to refresh your memory on). And if you come across a word you don’t know? Just highlight it and the definition of the word appears. And finally, if you really don’t feel like reading, you can simply turn on the voice function and the book reads to you. It is an absolutely amazing product.
My Kindle is the second version, so I can’t speak to how well designed the first version was, but I heard very good reviews. I have to believe that a tremendous amount of research was dedicated to creating a product that is intuitive and incredibly flexible. While Kindle is a physical product, it’s so well designed that I see it as a great example of customer service. Wouldn’t it be great if we could say that about every product?