Great Software, talk by Joel Spolsky

An oldie from 2006:

“The Formula:

  • Make People Happy
  • Think About Emotions
  • Obsess over Aesthetics

Or: Happy Comfortable, People” – Joel Spolsky

His core point, just at the end, got cut-off by bad audio, so I’ll take a crack at it.

Misattribution. Namely the act of feeling or desiring something for reasons other than the ones you believe are causing you to feel this way.

For the purposes of software, if your program basically works, nailing making people happy (by giving them a sense of control), making people comfortable and by making things beautiful, your app will be perceived as great – even if there are other apps which have more features.

I’ve seen this in real life directly. People like our app, even though there are other apps which have more features, because they like how it feels. They like how it uses words that they know. They like how it looks.

You’d be amazed how much of a push getting these things right is.

You’ll be amazed how damn much work it is.