the intervening substance through which impressions are conveyed to the senses or a force acts on objects at a distance
Too often this is overlooked. Too often journalists talk about themselves and get in the way between you and the news or background story you’re looking to consume. Too often the majority of the screen time is spent on the presenter instead of the story. How could some anchor man possibly be as important as the war that is being reported? Earth to anchor man: I don’t care.
Basically, I think any really good medium is humble in its presentation, while passionate about its content.
Unsurprisingly, I think the same goes for software. As unpleasant I think journalists or tv stations are when their bias or ego gets in the way of good reporting, I am equally inconvenienced when software gets in the way of what I’m looking to do.
Take Mozilla Firefox. As little as I use it, every time I open it, it interrupts me in my work by starting an update, asking me to relaunch the app, skip through updating any plug-ins, only then to present me with a web page telling me what’s new in this particular +0.0.0.1 version increment. How could the browser possibly be as important as the information I’m looking to retrieve? Earth to Mozilla: I don’t care.
In contrast, Google Chrome does precisely the opposite: it quietly updates in the background and never even lets you know.
While these two browsers may seem like a trivial example, I think this directly goes to what well designed software is supposed to do: get out of the way.
And with that, software has the same job as any other medium: to give us the straight dope. My advice is to keep this in mind when you’re designing a site or an app: the best interaction is the least possible interaction – for the user to achieve their goal, as quickly as possible.
This is why I think good software design – including web design – is almost per definition minimalist. Humble in its presentation, while passionate about its purpose.