I watched the movie “Objectified” tonight. A documentary on design, the film interviews people from IDEO, Apple, BMW and elsewhere. The protagonists are fascinating people but the movie struggles to tell a coherent story, preferring to meander among the different perspectives on the roles of design. But there is some great insight in the film. The trailer is below:

The most insightful portion of the movie is the discussion of the IDEO process. IDEO examines the edge use cases, the young or the elderly for inspiration. Apple, it seems, has embraced this philosophy – the iPad has proven to be the most accessible computer for both these groups

Tracing the history of the iOS, Apple released a very basic operating system at the beginning. No multitasking, basic email without threading or search, and so on. As the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad met with large scale success and users understood the metaphor and paradigms of operation, Apple is increasing the complexity slowly, whilst never losing the initial metaphors and baselines of simplicity. 

I believe the key to growing and sustaining large user bases for web products are innovations in simplicity with increasing depth to the product delivered over time. The users and product must grow together over time each informing the other of how they should interact. This is one of the keys to sustainable, digital design.