Eye Candy and Kicking Ass

In Defense of Eye Candy at A List Apart is a discussion of interesting concepts about design. It’s must reading for all web developers.  It talks about how perceptions affect usefulness; it’s a fascinating take on the idea of design and usability.

As I read it I kept thinking of  initial reactions to Susan Boyle. Although the article was not about her, it did suggest why the initial reaction to her was not positive. It doesn’t explain why that reaction changed the moment she opened her mouth to sing. Is there some trigger that makes less attractive design work as well as attractive design once we “get it?” You can’t hear that voice and not get it. At that point, the design package no longer matters. Why?

If you become a kick ass user (to quote Kathy Sierra) of something, does design cease to matter? Take Microsoft Word for example. I’ve used it for years and still willingly tell anyone how much I hate  it. I think that’s a design issue. It’s almost impossible to figure out how to do certain things, to become a kick ass user of Word. I spent a long time the other day trying to figure out how to make text flow from one text box into another and I could never find the answer. It would be nice to kick ass with a tool you have to use.

I need Word open its mouth and sing, so I can “get” it.

The article at A List Apart talks about interface, how understanding interface is improved by attractive interface. Maybe in Susan Boyle’s case, her voice becomes the interface. Her voice is so enormously attractive that the rest of the interface ceases to matter. What’s Word got going for it?