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Macintosh 128K - Design For Everyone

Updated: Jan 17

Narrated version below:

Where else can I start other than the computer that changed everything.

I am a strong believer in design for everyone. Many people have told me that “design for everyone is design for no one” and that we should focus our designs on specific user groups. I think the Macintosh is the perfect example of design for everyone, and why design for everyone is great design.

The Macintosh opened the home computer market to a huge range of people, changing the way we live our day to day lives. It allowed children to learn, artists to design, workers to write and engineers to code. The fact that Apple specifically designed the Macintosh for such a wide range of users is what made the home computer so successful, and what continues to make home computers successful today.

Imagine if you had to have a separate device to write letters and reports, to browse the web, to play games. One device allows me to do my university work, my Mum to build her website, my Nan to create her family tree, and my little cousin to watch programmes. The Macintosh changed the way we used technology; creating a device that allowed so much multi-functionality to such a wide range of users.

Even down to its physical design, the Macintosh 128k allowed an easy user experience for everyone. The computer was controlled by a very simple mouse. I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine a time when the mouse wasn’t around. But until this point, the computer mouse was rarely seen, used or even known by most people! The Macintosh 128K revolutionised the computer mouse, with a large single button. This mouse design allowed for a really simple user experience, and ensured that everyone was able to learn and get used to using a mouse. Once again, computers as they are today, in my opinion, would not be how they are without the technology and design introduced in the 128K.

The computer was also fitted with a built-in handle under the lid. Small features like this are what I love about Apple and their attention to detail. Although you may not move your computer often, Apple considered the fact that, at some point, you’re gonna move it! And, when you do, there’s a handy little handle there ready to help you.

The Macintosh 128K changed the way we used home computers, and allowed people to experience technology in a way they hadn’t before. For this reason alone, I stand by my opinion that a product designed for everyone - is great design.


Hardware Design - 7 / 10

The hardware within the Macintosh 128K was revolutionary for its time. It was one of the major advancements in all-in-one desktop computers, it threw the mouse into the modern world and it was light-weight compared to it’s competitors. However, the small memory of the Macintosh was an issue for users, especially those who couldn’t afford to upgrade to a Macintosh 512K.

Usability - 9 / 10

The Macintosh 128K is, still to this day, an extremely easy computer to use. It has a very simple user interface, and an extremely simple mouse. Users were able to dive straight into the Macintosh and know exactly what to do, never having used a mouse or even a personal computer before!

Fun Factor - 8 / 10

Can you get much more fun than a built in handle?! I would give it an 8 just for that, but I probably shouldn’t… The whole Macintosh is a fun device to use, as well as having fun features like the handle and the small gap under the screen, designed for sliding your keyboard under to reduce desktop space. Little design elements like this are what made the 128K a fun and clever design.

Innovation - 10 / 10

There is absolutely no doubt that the Macintosh 128K changed, not only the computer industry, but the technology industry as a whole. The technology, as well as how it was designed, pathed the way to modern day computers, and we still see elements of the 128K in computers today. If that’s not innovation, I don’t know what is!

Aesthetic - 8 / 10

I personally love the look of the Macintosh, but I love it in a way that’s different to how I love modern day Apple technology. I’ll admit, the modern aesthetic of Apple is way more pleasing on the eye, and I love the simplistic, minimalistic design of their modern products. But, the Macintosh still had that sense of minimalism to it, too. You can see, although different, the design principles at Apple are the same as they were back in 1984. Simplicity and clarity, with a sprinkle of Dieter Rams.

TOTAL - 8.4 / 10

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