The first-run experience 24 Aug 2005
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Guidebook, a site dedicated to preserving and showcasing GUIs, interviews John Gruber, author of Daring Fireball and critic of the Mac OS X interface. Here he discusses
Steve Jobs’ Apple’s emphasis on the first-run experience (a.k.a. the blank slate).
Another aspect of the Mac OS X UI that I think has been tremendously influenced by Jobs is the setup and first-run experience. I think Jobs is keenly aware of the importance of first impressions. Let’s say you buy a new computer and use it for three years. That’s about 1,000 days. Your first-run experience — the experience you encounter the first time you boot the machine after taking it out of the box — therefore constitutes about one-thousandth of your entire experience with the machine. I think that’s the sort of logic that has driven most companies not to put that much effort into designing the first-run UI — it’s only going to happen once, and if it isn’t smooth, so what?
Whereas I think Jobs looks at the first-run experience and thinks, it may only be one-thousandth of a user’s overall experience with the machine, but it’s the most important one-thousandth, because it’s the first one-thousandth, and it sets their expectations and initial impression.