Knowing Your Competitors’ Tricks Can Cloud Your Judgment

Ever feel that highly-praised work from your peers just doesn’t seem all that good? Perhaps you’re right and popular opinion is wrong. Perhaps you’re jealous. Or, perhaps, you’re viewing the work from an overly inside-the-system perspective.Designer Dave Wiskus writes on his Better Elevation blog about his reaction to the Tweetbot app. Wiskus dubbed it the “Lady Gaga of Twitter apps”, with no compliment intended. His and other designers’ opinion of the app led him on a path of introspection, and, finally, revelation:

We do what we do because we want to be magicians.

And that, I think, is where the problem comes in. This beautiful and amazing new Twitter client is full of flashy graphics and tricks. As magicians, we’re not just observing their moves and misdirections, we’re studying them. And while I can’t speak for anyone else, it seems to me that the irritation is not that the tricks aren’t well-executed, it’s that they’re very by-the-book. We’ve seen these tricks before. We see them as being cheap because instead of being pulled into the experience, we see how the trick works.

Of course, this isn’t how the end user (whose opinion matters most) sees the product.

Whether you work in a creative field or another type of industry, knowing how the “tricks” are done can sometimes cloud your judgment of others’ work. Have you experienced similar Magicians’ Guild moments?Photo by LordFerguson

Cheap Magic [Better Elevation via Daring Fireball]

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