Last week former Mac icon designer Susan Kare took the stand in Apple v. Samsung, and Apple called her back today to counter testimony from one of Samsung's designers. Kare was asked directly about the testimony of Jeeyeun Wang, who had described Samsung's design choices — icons with background image "containers" around them, and the use of a green phone icon — as functional necessities. Kare disagreed.
"What's important on a touchscreen is that there's a target for your finger," she said when asked about the containers. "That doesn't need to be enclosed in a fence... It's an option, not a requirement."
Apple attorney Rachel Krevans delved into the shape of these containers; iOS uses boxes with rounded corners, a design choice that the company feels Samsung copied. Kare didn't think choosing that shape was the only option. Containers were often used as "a metaphor for a real-world button," she said, and there are "all kinds of ovals and circles and squares" on real-world devices.
Kare didn't think using a classic handset was the only way to represent a phone, either, saying it "could be a pad of numbers, could be a shape of a generic mobile phone." Wang testified that Samsung did attempt to use those exact options during its design process, but reverted to the handset graphic because it was the most recognizable option for users. The Pantech Hotshot and BlackBerry Storm made brief appearances, with Kare looking to them as examples of alternative designs that didn't copy Apple's work.
Samsung attorney Charles Verhoeven attacked Kare's opinions on usability, calling back to her deposition testimony to do so. "You didn't consider how they worked, did you?" when asking about her icon study.
Kare, whose initial testimony had been focused almost exclusively on whether Apple and Samsung's icons looked alike, agreed. "Not to compare whether there was substantial visual similarity," she said.