The Usability Post
Thoughts on design and user experience by Dmitry Fadeyev

Blank Screens

One thing that strikes me about PC manufacturers is just how disconnected their marketing is from the software that will run on their machines. One sign of this is the blank screens shown on the product pictures of their latest products. Sometimes these screens have a picture of some actual software running on the machine, but oftentimes it’s either blank or has the product title pasted over it. Here’s a picture of Acer’s latest Ultrabook, taken from their website:

Acer notebook ad

The Ultrabook is Intel’s initiative to take on Apple’s very thin and popular MacBook Air. Here’s the first picture of the MacBook Air from Apple’s website–the screen is on and the system is ready for work:

Apple notebook ad

In fact, throughout the whole of Apple’s website there’s not a single picture of a machine with a blank screen, or anything on the screen other than the software it will run. Of course Apple is in a good position to do this as it’s also a software company, but by ignoring software its competitors are sending the signal that they’re just selling hardware. But hardware alone is just not as attractive as an all-inclusive appliance.

“For even falsehood, uttered by the tongue of man, seemed like truth and light before this hopelessly-deaf and unresponsive silence.”

My new book: a translation of selected short stories by Leonid Andreyev, the father of Russian Expressionism from the Silver Age of Russian literature. A piercing, pitiless glance into the heart of the human condition.

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Further Reading

Proust wrote that the true voyage of discovery is not to visit strange lands, but to possess other eyes, to behold a hundred universes that each of them beholds. Thus, in the words of Ruskin, what good books give us is not mere knowledge, but sight.

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