How well do my apps score on the user hierarchy of needs scale? 21:07 on Wednesday

I feel like repeating myself, but with her post on how development models affect users Kathy Sierra is directly on the point… again.

Especially the graph of the User Hierarchy of Needs (and desires) resonated with me.

User hierarchy of needs

Most software in use today is pretty far on the red. And I’m as much talking about software-run hardware like mobile phones here, than plain desktop applications. A quick review of stuff I use daily:

  • My phone, Nokia N90 — Functionality is there, but it fails already on correctness. After over one year I still have to search for “profile settings” so learnability you can forget right away. The rest won’t even get the honor of appearing in the same paragraph.
  • PhotoShop — Version after version, there’s an increasing learning curve, but the app demonstrably can get you to a state of flow.
  • Word — If you manage to set up the program for your task, if the setup doesn’t require you to use any of the numerous annoyingly buggy features, if you can keep yourself from constantly switching from setup to writing and back to settings again, and if you have a decent PC or a real fast Mac (2Ghz Core Duo is not enough!)… then you might get to the point of Word being efficient.
  • OmniOutliner — For capturing ideas, I can easily get into flow with OmniOutliner. This of course is not a program that one would use for a long time. But as a brainstorming too, it just works.
  • Ableton Live — Music software that you can learn relatively quickly and can get you to flow even with limited knowledge.
  • Logic Pro — My music sequencer of choice for the last 14 years. I use it because I have always used it. But usability-wise, it tops at efficiency. Just seeing it makes most people want to run away.

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