With his usual aplomb, Marco Arment’s sage advice on design applies as much to platforms as it does to other products.
Good design is what you’re left with after you’ve said “no” to a lot of things.
How to bring good design to a platform
Demonstrate from the top that high quality and attention to detail are prioritized and appreciated above everything else, including being the first to market, having the most features, or having the most aggressive prices. If you can get those as well, that’s great, but quality will not be sacrificed to do so.
Instill these values in your staff. If you can’t, hire a staff for which you can. Better yet, hire a staff for which you don’t need to.
Aggressively pursue simplification, elegance, craftsmanship, and the highest-class user experiences in the product line. Ruthlessly cut or hold features or entire products that aren’t good enough.
Make it pretty.
How not to bring good design to a platform
Skip steps 1-3 above.