May 19, 2006 | Category:

Over Detailed

I find it interesting how much more obsessive a small group of people (designers and technology types) are about small aesthetic details in interactive devices than the vast majority of people who use them.

For example, give most people a computer keyboard and they will be content to just use it, regardless of whether it’s a bog standard model or a bizarrely contoured model. Those few others, though, can tell if the keyboard is any good by putting their hands on it for a few seconds. They’ve been using computers long enough to know what a keyboard should feel like from the layout of the board, to the size of the keys, to the relative heights of keys. Lots of little details that just click into place. I can’t tell you the number of discussions I’ve had with various lunatics about whether clicky keys (think an old-school Spectrum keyboard) are best or gummy silent keys are superior (the answer is clearly neither, you want quiet keys that have a good responsive action). I don’t think anyone can explain the horror felt by one of these people when asked to use a mouse that is too small, doesn’t have a wheel (I personally CANNOT do it), or only has one button (Mac users of yesteryear, you are wrong).

Is this ridiculous compulsive behaviour a bad thing? No. We represent the top end of the market, everything is shaped by us. It’s because we care about the details that no-one else really has to.