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  1. #1
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    Apple Creates Sheep

    They do.

    I've just finished about my 5th project for a "rabid" apple fan - he's a programmer as well. And I swear... you would think somebody with that kind of skill would be less of a dolly. But No. And he isn't alone. These are people with businesses, degrees, or are professionals.

    Actual Scenario A:

    Me: I'll be honest with you, I wouldn't have laid out the content that way. The focus isn't where it should be, especially with 99% of the audience originating from countries that read from left to right.

    Client: I don't always believe in conventional approaches.

    Me: (shows client a few different website layouts, including apple's)

    *3 days pass*

    Me: I think I'll go revisit those pages and trim some of that excess css fat.

    *Layout has now changed to match that of Apple's...*



    (Bear in mind that Apple wasn't the only site on the list that I sent that had that layout)


    Actual Scenario B:

    Me: That menu is really just too cluttered. At it's current guise, the text is very difficult to read, and there are just too many products. We need to rework the site's architecture.

    Client: There is no need. We've had this approach for years, I think it is effective enough already.

    Me: (shows client a few website menu's, apple being part of that list).

    *48 hours pass*

    Client: (email) I quite like that link box Apple has at the bottom of their pages. Let's go with that. I'll leave the site architecture to you - just let me know when it's done so I can approve.



    (Bear in mind again that Apple wasn't the only site on the list that I sent that had that bottom link box)


    Actual Scenario C:

    Me: Let's have a look at the new mobiles. Yours is in dire need of upgrading.

    Dad: I just want a simple one, I just like to call and text(sms) anyway.

    Me: Have a look at this HTC Diamond. *shows dad touchscreen* you can write instead of tapping words out.

    Dad: That stuff is too complicated. I just want a regular Nokia.

    Salesperson: Sir, have you seen the new Apple (slight pause for emphasis) 3G iPhone?

    (salesperson proceeds to demo iPhone)

    Dad: I like that! Now I can text on the screen! I'll take it!

    Me: (That's a new record for human-to-sheep conversion )

    -_-_-_-_-_-

    Message to Apple's marketing department: You guys deserve every penny that you people are being paid. Every penny. Incredible.

  2. #2
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    That's industry news???

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard drhowarddrfine's Avatar
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    Maybe it's too early but I don't know what he's talking about.

  4. #4
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    Hmm what a bizarre post. Perhaps people use/aspire to Apple because it churns out good usable/reliable products.

    I have a Mac because my opinion it's better than windows and i can work easily off the unix command line as i do on my linux box. Does that make me a sheep?

    I think the apple site is very typical of web 2.0 which, as i'm sure you know (as the only designer on sitepoint), is very current right now

  5. #5
    SitePoint Guru mattymcg's Avatar
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    Moved to General Chat.
    I design beautiful, usable interfaces. Oh, and I wrote a kids' book.
    Follow me on Twitter.
    Read my blog.
    Buy my book, Charlie Weatherburn and the Flying Machine.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy conradical's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattymcg View Post
    Moved to General Chat.
    It should be moved to weird chat.

  7. #7
    Mazel tov! bronze trophy kohoutek's Avatar
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    How about replacing "Apple" with "Studio Gecko". Would you call these people sheep or conclude that your marketing strategies have been astonishingly effective?

    Apple is hard to beat in that area, and while I would be equally frustrated if I had a client who would simply not listen to my advice, I believe this type of behaviour is quite common and certainly not attributed to Apple alone. It's not wise, it's not logical, but it's common.
    Maleika E. A. | Rockatee | Twitter | Dribbble



  8. #8
    ✯✯✯ silver trophybronze trophy php_daemon's Avatar
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    Don't know anything about web design, but iPhone phenomena stands true. I wouldn't call it conversion to sheep, but one of the best marketing campaigns I've ever seen for sure.
    Saul

  9. #9
    #titanic {float:none} silver trophy
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    I think that what he's saying is that no matter what he does, Apple's designs and approaches always win. They are the favourite among his customers.

    Do you think that they are really dollies?

    You seem to think that they follow the Apple fad but that isn't necessarily true.

    Haven't you thought what makes Apple's approach so successful? Extremely clean and nice design, and very high usability. So simple and yet so sophisticated.

    Instead of calling them dollies, I would spend some time why they always choose Apple's, learn the lesson and apply it to my business. It is obvious that it will make it successful.

  10. #10
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    @molona and kohoutek: close, but what I'm trying to get at is that once you show that it's something that Apple does, or has done, it gets a two-thumbs up from anyone. I'm not against Apple's designs - in fact, in one of my other posts, I praised how near-perfect their website is. What I'm talking about is the power of their brand. While anything attached to Vista has "crap" written all over it (in a brand sense), anything attached to Apple seems to be oozing with gold.

    @elduderino: There's a difference. While you have the knowledge and reason for switching to Apple or using Apple, these people do not understand Information Architecture or the nuances of Design, BUT they will do whatever Apple does.


    There's a difference between "I've moved to Apple because my knowledge of network security has led me to decide that..."

    versus

    "I'm not sure / I don't like / I assume that is not the way to do it. Has any other company done it this way?"
    "Apple"
    "Oh... let's go with that then."



    P.S. I posted this on industry news? My bad. I must have clicked the wrong subforum link.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by XLCowBoy View Post
    @molona and kohoutek: close, but what I'm trying to get at is that once you show that it's something that Apple does, or has done, it gets a two-thumbs up from anyone. I'm not against Apple's designs - in fact, in one of my other posts, I praised how near-perfect their website is. What I'm talking about is the power of their brand. While anything attached to Vista has "crap" written all over it (in a brand sense), anything attached to Apple seems to be oozing with gold.
    In other words, Apple ranks with Google and Adobe as a very respected name in the IT industry - and it isn't hard to figure out why. I have a web design platform consisting of Apache/PHP/MySQL running on a MacBook Pro + Adobe's Creative Suite (Web Premium), and I'm increasingly using Google services, from GMail to its new Knol project.

    My biggest problem to date was a hard drive failure. It didn't crash, something that happened with virtually every PC I ever owned. I was still able to copy date from it, and I ran my computer on my external hard drive until Apple replaced the hard drive. It took them a whopping two weeks to get a replacement, which is absolutely unsatisfactory. However, they replaced a 100 GB hard drive with a 180 GB hard drive, and my computer is now running better than ever, with virtually no glitches. I'm not sure if I just had too much stuff installed on my 100 GB hard drive, or if there was some other problem with my hard drive, but things just keep getting better and better.

    In the meantime, Apple's market share doubled, from 3% to 6%, and I read recently that it's now 8.5%. In other words, it's on the verge of tripling. And when it hits 10%, it's going to make headlines. I don't think all those new customers are sheep. On the contrary, the sheep are the ones who've been left behind.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by XLCowBoy View Post
    @molona and kohoutek: close, but what I'm trying to get at is that once you show that it's something that Apple does, or has done, it gets a two-thumbs up from anyone. I'm not against Apple's designs - in fact, in one of my other posts, I praised how near-perfect their website is. What I'm talking about is the power of their brand. While anything attached to Vista has "crap" written all over it (in a brand sense), anything attached to Apple seems to be oozing with gold.
    So they choose Apple because they follow the leader. Great. How many people have complained about the same thing regarding Microsoft, as you point out?

    I don't think they are sheeps. It is simply that, if you are uncertain about what you need to do but need to take a decission, doing what the leader does not result in any harm in most of the cases. In general, their ways have been already proven.

    It is true that any strong brand creates both a big amount of followers and small amount of detractors, wanting to get out of the box as you are trying to do. But that doesn't always work.

    PS: Microsoft has earned its fame regarding operative systems and it is well earned. Bill Gates was brave enough to develope and fight for an OS that wasn't based in Unix, as Mac is, but their commercial interest rules over quality, their philosophy about releases is rubbish (I hate it when they release version A of the finished product, which is not finished at all) and their paid support is average and very expensive, and I'm being generous here.
    On the other hand, Apples' support is slooooooow and almost not existant, unless you direct your queries directly to Apple. With such a rubbish support (both technical and post-sales), the only thing that saves them is that their products, in general, are great and their presentation and design is perfect.

  13. #13
    l 0 l silver trophybronze trophy lo0ol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by molona View Post
    On the other hand, Apples' support is slooooooow and almost not existant, unless you direct your queries directly to Apple. With such a rubbish support (both technical and post-sales), the only thing that saves them is that their products, in general, are great and their presentation and design is perfect.
    That's the exact opposite of any support I've received from Apple, personally. I've had a few things go wrong (most spectacular being a faulty WD external drive cable frying the motherboards of my iMac and MacBook), and in pretty much all of those cases I was able to get someone on the phone in a minimal amount of time, explain my problem, and when it warranted it, get a replacement shipped next day air to me. Same sort of deal in person at an Apple Store. Contrast that to the same scenario with the faulty WD drive (or cable)... just was an extremely painful experience, they were slow to ship me (3!) replacement drives, were confusing on the phone, and overall just unhelpful. Swapping between WD and Apple hotlines within hours of each other was just night and day, really.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by molona View Post
    It is simply that, if you are uncertain about what you need to do but need to take a decission, doing what the leader does not result in any harm in most of the cases. In general, their ways have been already proven.
    Again, while I'm not disagreeing with you (how often have we looked to our peers and those that we admire for guidance, right?), but I will refer you back to my first actual example.

    I was talking about a person who was basically telling me "we're doing it this way, period.", until I brought up Apple. He loves Apple.

    To put it another way: Whenever I'm having a difficult time convincing a client that their approach is wrong, all I have to do is say "Apple doesn't do it that way", and the conviction to their decision will automatically wobble or shatter.

    Honestly, even Google doesn't get that kind of near-fanatical response. And they're doing great.

    Think of it this way: If I said "Apple does it this way", and the client says "Really? Must work then. Who else does it?" then I would see that person as somebody who would fall into your "unsure about what to do" category.

    However, I've encountered far too many people who will simply go in any direction, as long as it's the same direction as Apple.

    Remember that poll a few months ago showing Apple as the number 1 brand name in the world? It's true. Very true. So true in fact, that you can win almost any argument against a client just by saying "Apple would...".

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by geosite View Post
    In other words, Apple ranks with Google and Adobe as a very respected name in the IT industry.
    You nailed it with that first line. The brand power is unbelievable.

    Look at it this way:

    With Google, people are still reluctant. With Adobe, people are still critical. With Apple? Nothing.

    (and before anyone thinks I'm a Microsoft fanboy - I'm typing this out on Apple hardware)

  16. #16
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    molona's Avatar
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    I am not disagreeing with you, although I would say that if you ask a Microsoft lover very possibly you'll get the opposite reaction

    It is obvious that brand name is important else other companies nor us would put so much effort in creating a well-known, high reputation brand.

    But, let's face it, Apple is more brand than anything else. Their market share is minimal, although their product is much higher, in my humble opinion than most. It is also expensive.

    But both, in the case of Apple and Adobe, have succeeded in creating a great brand and being followed till the end, as you say. They did it by being creative, having great designs, and improving their products, even when they had no competition.

    Of course, I don't know the case of this particular customer. He may be a sheep allright, but it could be that he already tasted too much from others and follows whatever Apple does because it does work, and he doesn't have to think any longer about he should do. It is safe and he can dedicate his time to something else.
    Last edited by molona; Aug 9, 2008 at 04:08.

  17. #17
    l 0 l silver trophybronze trophy lo0ol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XLCowBoy View Post
    However, I've encountered far too many people who will simply go in any direction, as long as it's the same direction as Apple.
    To be honest, this isn't an issue with Apple; it's an issue with humanity (I think we're still in beta mode). One need only look as far as your nearest football pitch or baseball stadium to see that people are social creatures and tend to follow the crowd. From what you're mentioning, it doesn't really seem like we should be debating Apple per se, but why people all the sudden become so focused on one particular idea. I have a wealth of opinions on Apple products, design, and ideology, but in this case I think it's more a matter to strip that away and note that Apple is *cool*, in the very sense of the word. Their products they release are hip, trendy, and everyone wants one. Not only that, but, as you alluded to earlier, people really love their Apple products. In the case of your clients, it makes sense that they can see this sense of attraction to Apple products and they seek to get some of that to rub off on their own work. If that means copying or imitating something Apple has designed, that seems to make sense to them.

    In a broader sense than just this thread, you see this stuff happen all the time. Take YouTube, for example. All of the sudden a few years back it shot up front and center into the national — and international — consciousness. What happened? You started seeing all those damn flash boxes with terribly designed buttons and controls in embedded videos all over the blogosphere. People understood that that's what part of the allure to YouTube was; it had some type of look or ease of use or readily-embeddable code that people wanted to imitate. And they did. What was the success story that came from that? There isn't one. They're all worthless. Imitation doesn't earn you anything; innovation does. Come up with a competitor to YouTube off the top of your head. If you can even think of a competitor, there's a good chance that they've figured out a way to innovate rather than imitate. Vimeo is a fantastic example of this. They took some great things about YouTube — social media, embedding content, and so on — *and* innovated what YouTube failed at: HD streams, downloadable content, and great design.

    So getting back to your point and ultimately understanding your problem with your clients... I think there's a good argument to be made here in regard towards innovation vs. imitation. People love imitating because they think they can reap the benefits of innovation.

  18. #18
    #titanic {float:none} silver trophy
    molona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lo0ol View Post
    I think we're still in beta mode


    I think you are right

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by lo0ol View Post
    So getting back to your point and ultimately understanding your problem with your clients... I think there's a good argument to be made here in regard towards innovation vs. imitation. People love imitating because they think they can reap the benefits of innovation.
    Excellent points. I would readily admit to prematurely pointing the finger at Apple, but I guess that's down to exposure and the industry we're in.

    But what you say holds a lot of truths - the saddest part is that the general "sheep" won't hear anything other than what pleases them.

    If I were, for example, to tell a recent bandwagon joiner/sheep that his recently purchased $2000+ MacBook Pro isn't 100% fullproof, he isn't going to want to hear what I have to say. In fact, there's a chance he might even try to punch my face in.

    Oh well. Hello to beta mode it is.

  20. #20
    ✯✯✯ silver trophybronze trophy php_daemon's Avatar
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    I blame laziness, that's the biggest bug in this beta mode. It's wayyy too convenient to follow than to figure out something on your own. Good is it or bad, who cares, all it has to be is somewhat good and everyone will follow.

    As for telling someone they spent their $2000 in vain, that's a terrible move. Tell that *before* they buy, not after. That's same like saying "you're a fool" in their face, which obviously may very well result in black eye.
    Saul

  21. #21
    . shoooo... silver trophy logic_earth's Avatar
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    I'll call them sheep when they blindly believe everything the Marketing department (not just Apple's) says.

    Like for instance those Mac vs PC commercials, funny but inaccurate. I still don't get the one where its says Macs work out of the box and PCs don't. Were they comparing a desktop to a laptop? Or an traditional desktop to there iMac? I don't know but I do know PCs work out of the box because I pulled two (laptops) from there boxes and turned them both on right after.

    Edit: The video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABAliXGs4oo
    Logic without the fatal effects.
    All code snippets are licensed under WTFPL.


  22. #22
    SitePoint Enthusiast 2synapses's Avatar
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    k, I think I can say with all honesty, that there are sheep and there are bellwethers. I started out computing back in the stone age where abacus' were still in use in math classes, and a handheld calculator was $100.00 and did mostly arithmatic. First computer I ever used for anything good was an apple 2+, then came the Lisa, then came the switch to Intel 8088's, 25 years later, and a career in IT using every platform known, linux, unix, windows, dos, Mac OS 4.x - 9, I was suddenly out of the industry. I switched to an intel Mac running OSX and I've never been happier. It just works, and I don't need to fiddle much... Heaven...

    Not a sheeple, just a competence need that Apple satisfies. I'll probably buy an Iphone when I can choose the service provider. I have an ipod mini for motorcycle rides... :-)

    just my $.02 worth.

    Oh, and logic_earth... I pulled my MacBook Pro laptop out of the packaging, turned on the power and the OSX system booted right up... Even the battery was charged from the factory. :-)

  23. #23
    . shoooo... silver trophy logic_earth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2synapses View Post
    Oh, and logic_earth... I pulled my MacBook Pro laptop out of the packaging, turned on the power and the OSX system booted right up... Even the battery was charged from the factory. :-)
    Yes, I had the same thing when I got my first [brand new] computer (Dell Inspiron E1705) very nice 17 inch laptop. Set gently down on the table, opened the lid and pushed the power button...omgosh it turned on! full battery and all that.

    I cannot say it booted directly into Windows because it didn't it took me to the user creation setup screen to create my account then logged into said account.

    My PC worked out of the box, yet according to Apple that doesn't happen.
    Logic without the fatal effects.
    All code snippets are licensed under WTFPL.


  24. #24
    SitePoint Wizard spence_noodle's Avatar
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    'Apple creates sheep' When I first read this the first thing that came into my mind was a sheep shaped like a green apple.

    I suggest you stop showing apples

  25. #25
    SitePoint Enthusiast 2synapses's Avatar
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by logic_earth View Post
    My PC worked out of the box, yet according to Apple that doesn't happen.
    Well then they're wrong... I used every variation of pc laptops there are during my tenure at Cisco Systems, and most of them just worked out of the box. The very few that didn't we shipped back and got ones that did. No Company ever has 100% perfect hardware.

    I don't slam PC's, I've used them too, too, long to get into that. It would be hypocritical to the nth degree for me to do that.

    PC's work fine, but I reached a point where I wanted to be more of a user than a techie, and with PC's I'm always tempted to try something that leads me to swearing down the road.. I don't do that with my Mac, so I'm happier. I do get at least as much work done on my Mac, so it's a good machine for me.


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