The Qualities of Great Design

Description: Great Design isn’t magic, it is crafted with care by real people. Explore the characteristics of great design through the voices of designers from Apple and our developer community. Learn how they take inspiration from everyday life, conceive and refine ideas, and push themselves to design apps and games that can stand the test of time.

This is a non technical discussion on Design Quality, divided into four themes: Interpretation, Significance, Aspirations, Techniques.


Characteristics ‘not random’, ‘well crafted’, a lot of care and time went into it, people can feel it (without knowing what they are feeling), it feels like state of the art, people feel overpowered/more productive by it, and consistently cohesive details.
The takeaway here is that quality is never about the UI, the UX, but about the people using the staff you make it for.


In sum the little details and inconsistencies affect the interpretation of the Product. Quality is not something stated, it is communicated and felt through the product. Quality emanates when using the product.
Quality invokes trust in the people using your app.


Design should aspire to be simple, instantly understandable, and focused. Visual design and polish and clarity of rules and achieve. Active discovery is a more effective way to communicate rules for a system. Users are more likely to remember a “rule” if it is self learned, rather than a tooltip.
Design should be durable (or, even better, timeless)


  • Assemble extreme “caricatures” if ideas to the problems of a solution
  • Prototype with real users, you can’t assume things are going to work
  • Take feedback to reduce bias, don’t be defensive regarding the feedback given, people are genuinely criticizing your work for your own good, they’re not trying to attack you (there’s a super nice session from 2014/15 about this, )
  • Know what you don’t know and ask questions
  • Talk about communication (more direct, less drama)

Missing anything? Corrections? Contributions are welcome 😃

Written by

Federico Zanetello

Federico Zanetello

iOS Engineer with strong passion for Swift, minimalism, and design. When he’s not busy automating things, he can be found writing at FIVE STARS and/or playing with the latest shiny toys.