Last updated on June 25, 2019
The knife does not exist without the handle.
Why do we choose a specific item of clothing over another? One reason is wether it looks right, in other words whether it does the function of communicating who we want others to see us as; flamboyant, serious, older, younger and so on. Another reason is of course whether it fits our physical bodies and our preferences for size, cut and texture.
It’s the same with the tools we buy. Does the hammer feel right in our hands? Does the car drive well? Is the gameplay good with the game? Is the keyboard on the laptop responsive enough?
The experience matters and it’s why good software takes much longer to complete than simply making it work. Steve Jobs said it well:
You know, one of the things that really hurt Apple was after I left John Sculley got a very serious disease. It’s the disease of thinking that a really great idea is 90% of the work. And if you just tell all these other people “here’s this great idea,” then of course they can go off and make it happen. And the problem with that is that there’s just a tremendous amount of craftsmanship in between a great idea and a great product. And as you evolve that great idea, it changes and grows. It never comes out like it starts because you learn a lot more as you get into the subtleties of it. And you also find there are tremendous tradeoffs that you have to make.
In the computer games industry they call the fixes you discover you can do to make things better along the way ‘quality of life improvements’, which I think is a great term. Augmentation tools are not imagined and built, any more than a substantial written piece is simply transcribed to the page, the creation process is dynamic.