Ease of use has always been a technology pain point. If I think about fundamental app adaptation, the difference between failure and success often comes down to this concept.
Taking 1 step back, I probably could argue that it’s what also separates success in the physical world. How many brilliant toys have failed because simply they were difficult to understand and play?
Awake in the middle of the night, I usually tweet. These short 140 character confessionals have been a part of my daily survival for 8+ years – ever since a fateful lunch I had with Julian, Ben and Christian, the year before I first started attending SXSW. It was because of Twitter I wanted to go to Austin. And it’s because of Twitter I can now stay home and still feel like I’m there.
But at some point this evening, my app bricked on my phone. I could no longer access it. I couldn’t delete it, I couldn’t download it, the bird icon was in a purgatory. I went to sleep.
I awoke to the sounds of a big bird rave outside my bedroom window. Spring at our new house is a noisy chorus of incessant bird calls. They begin to sing around 2am, some nights it feels like they’re having a summit. It drowns out the white noise of the nearby freeway interchange, the drone of city living in the near suburbs. I wanted to tweet. I was thinking about Garry Shandling and Conan O’Brien’s amazing tribute to him we had watched earlier. I was thinking of his memory of them in Hawaii, how sometimes life’s most romantic moments aren’t spent with the love of your life, but your friends in your darkest hours.
Good apps are like those friends. They’re always there for you. Until sometimes they’re gone and you feel this void, this unfulfilled need that immediately needs attention. Physically unable to tweet, I find myself typing in the dark on a WordPress mobile app I wish was built about 15 years ago. Though inherently unsocial, there is something satisfying about it. It allows me to be unwieldy with my characters and I can upload images! If only it felt as communal as Twitter. But I guess that’s the difference between metaphors.
March 24, 2016.