Adam Baker

Selected product design & product management work.

Apple Human Interface Guidelines 2002-2003

The authoritative source on desktop user interface

apple.com

Apple Human Interface Guidelines 2002-2003

The authoritative source on desktop user interface

apple.com

What it is

The most well-known and respected guide to user interface design principles and practice, a version of these guidelines have existed continuously since 1978—helping software developers and designers everywhere make great applications, realizing the potential of our “bicycles for the mind.” Under the stewardship of Apple’s UX evangelist, John Geleynse, they played an instrumental role in helping Apple become the dominant technology company, finally and popularly establishing design’s central role in technology adoption.

What’s special about it

The HIG is a living, breathing document that evolves with the technology it supports. When I had the privilege of working on it, we reorganized its structure to emphasize the whole product experience from store-shelf to screen, to help what would soon become an avalanche of developers new to the platform learn the Mac ropes, and to establish standards for download-and-install software.

Role

As a UX intern, I worked closely with writers, editors, and the Apple human interface design teams to create new design and guideline content and a more compelling structure for two major releases of Mac OS X. Consultation, guideline writing, editing, etc. A blast!

Looking back

We were on the cusp of a new online world. John and I had talked about a truly interactive version of the HIG, but didn’t pursue it at the time. It wasn’t easy moving away from the notion of the HIG as a book, but I wish I had taken the leap. Late editions have featured more compact and tighter language, and I envy their brevity.