Augmented Paper


Reflecting upon the current state of mobile applications, Matt Gemmell has written a thoughtful treatise on the topic of user experience, and the best experience therein. Matt writes:

For me, software experiences that feel like Augmented Paper are those that second-guess our (developers’) natural tendency to put functionality first, or to think of our apps as software. Apps are only incidentally software; software is an implementation detail. Instead, apps are experiences.

Design an experience. Make it as beautiful - and as emotionally resonant - as it can possibly be. Then adorn the core experience and content with only as much functionality as is absolutely necessary. Functionality - and software-based thinking in general - is like seasoning. A little is an enhancement; any more destroys the flavour, subsumes the artistry of the chef, and may well be bad for you.

I couldn’t agree more.

Developmental improvement in user experience directly correlates with the increased happiness of the end-user. Rather than being tangled in cruft and unnecessary distraction, the user should be placed into an environment as interactive and connected as needed. And nothing more.

It’s worth mentioning that the aforementioned passage from Matt’s article is an excerpt from his conclusion, but the entire article is endlessly quotable. If you are interested in development and the intersection of design and practicality, I suggest you read the original in its entirety.