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Chapter 6. Creativity and User Experience

“Good artists borrow, great artists steal.”

Pablo Picasso

At this point, it’s worth noting that FiftyThree’s artistic sensibilities can be a bit intimidating. I have no problem admitting that part of Paper’s success is attributed to their team’s natural design intuitions.

The example of FiftyThree isn’t, “Look! If you’re using user-centered design you can build amazingly beautiful applications, too!” The point is that we should admire FiftyThree’s execution of their vision. In the iPad marketplace, there are plenty of applications that let users draw and paint. FiftyThree could have created an uninspired application with all the same feature sets and complexity.

Instead, they decided to re-examine how their competitors’ applications might be stifling creativity and came up with a unique vision for Paper. More importantly, they used this vision to create a narrative that helped them stay focused on their mission. That is the lesson we learn from them.

How would your application (and, frankly, anything else you might be working on) be different if you enforced this same level of dedication?

The previous chapter is an example of focus, not creativity. Creativity cannot help you if you don’t have a vision or narrative for your application. We see this in applications that are full of creative intentions but miss their core functionality and purpose. These applications may be beautiful to look at, but they are virtually useless to us.

Are there people ...

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