No one wants to type more on a multi-touch phone or tablet if they don’t have to, so when they see an app demonstrate that typing can be eliminated entirely, it’s an eye-opening moment, for sure. But is it magic? Almost. To simplify is huge, but what matters just as much is the end result, what the user gets out of the simplification. If the simplified process produces satisfactory results, great. But it’s magic when the software generates a disproportionately meaningful output from that minimized input.
The application that inspired this is called Moves, which tracks your movement throughout the day and tells you where you went, how much you moved and how. It’s really quite clever.
This article keeps popping back into my head because it’s incredibly insightful. The magic doesn’t come from generating a surprisingly large result from a surprisingly small amount of user input; rather, it comes from understanding what the user is trying to accomplish, and then generating that result from as little effort as possible.
Moves is a great example of this, because all you do is enable it, and every day it’ll let you know how much you’ve moved and how. It automatically creates a little diary of your movement without you doing anything at all, because it reacts to what you’re already doing. It takes no additional effort on your part, but it provides you with quite powerful information about your life that would otherwise be only vaguely known to you. It’s actionable information—you don’t need to process it or think about it, and you can change your habits based on it, and then see the results of those changes.