Sean Madden, writing for Wired on the fine line between “magic” and frustration:

The average smartphone user interacts with his or her mobile device over 100 times per day, and the majority of those interactions fall into just a few categories: opening an app, selecting from a list, bringing up a keyboard, and so on. If each of them is imbued with too much visual whiz-bang, using your phone becomes the digital equivalent of eating birthday cake for every meal.

It’s a great article, and what Sean talks about is exactly what Ben and I hit on in last week’s episode of The Weekly Briefly.

In short: whizbang features are cool and they look especially delightful in a press release. But the hallmark features of our gadgets are nowhere close to the most used features. How fast do apps launch, how easy is it to navigate the device, how smooth is the scrolling? These “boring” features are the ones we interact with a hundred times per day. And that’s why you’ve got to get the fundamental stuff right, because that is what ultimately defines the user’s experience as delightful or not.

And so, if you get the fundamentals wrong — by being poorly engineered or over-designed — then it’s like gluing a piece of gravel inside your customer’s $650 running shoes.

P.S. I literally wrote a book on this subject. It’s called Delight is in the Details and as we speak I’m up to my ears in a big update. If you want to follow along with the new work I’m adding to the book, you can learn more here.

The Perils of Delight