Making It Macintosh: Interactive Media, Interpersonal Design

Harry Saddler, Lauralee Alben, and Jim Faris, Apple Computer

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University October 15, 1993


"Making It Macintosh: The Macintosh Human Interface Guidelines Companion" is a recently released interactive product developed by Apple Computer, Inc. "Making It Macintosh" uses over 100 computer-based animations to document the Macintosh user interface. People who use Macintosh computers want all their applications - whether they're spreadsheets, statistics packages, or shareware - to have the consistency, clarity and ease of use that's characteristic of Macintosh software. "Making it Macintosh" was created to help give applications that Macintosh "look and feel." This product is meant primarily for software developers and can also be of interest and value to human interface designers and educators.

Apple placed a high priority on "achieving real communication by including skilled and competent designers on the development team from the project's conception to its final implementation,". Lauralee Alben and Jim Faris contributed graphic and interface design, as well as illustration and animation to "Making It Macintosh," working intimately with Harry Saddler in a day-to-day, decision-by-decision development process over two years. This approach resulted in consistently positive responses to the graphic design (for its quality, ease of use and humor) in user testing and in the final product.


Lauralee Alben and Jim Faris are principals of Alben+Faris, a firm practicing graphic and interface design for multimedia, software applications and emerging technologies. Their work also includes corporate identity, print, architectural graphics and exhibition design. They have recently completed graphic and interface design for Apple's interactive CD called Making It Macintosh, The Macintosh Human Interface Guidelines Companion and ChipSoft's MacInTax and TurboTax applications. They are currently working with IBM on a software application and with Apple on interfaces for new technologies.

Previous to co-founding Alben+Faris in 1985 in New York, Lauralee worked for Siegel & Gale (New York) and Henrion Design Associates International (London). Jim was the founding Director of the Graphic Design Department at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Lauralee and Jim have lectured and taught extensively, including at Yale University, Carnegie Mellon University, North Carolina State University and in England. They both completed post-graduate studies at the School of Design in Basel, Switzerland.

Harry Saddler has been creating software for users since 1977, when he attempted to create an inventory control program for an Apple 1 computer with 8k of memory. His appreciation for simplicity and economy thus assured, his perspective on users and software usability was honed by writing and testing data-entry programs in the same room as the data-entry operators. Harry also worked closely with users to design electronic publications, accounting software, and airfreight operations management systems on 8-bit time-shared minicomputers.

Since the release of the Macintosh in 1984, Harry has designed such diverse Macintosh products as small-business accounting software, educational administration packages, an emergency-room chart-writing system, an image cataloging system, interactive tutorials, self-paced training, an electronic newspaper, an electronic game show, multimedia information systems, interactive technical documents and many others.

Harry is currently a senior instructional designer at Apple Computer, where he designs electronic documentation systems and interactive products to help software developers understand human interface design. Harry was the lead designer and team leader for Making It Macintosh, a CD-ROM-based guide to human interface design for the Macintosh.


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