Warning – Some expletives follow – NSFW
Music is everything and nothing. It is useless and no limit can be set on its use. Music takes me to places of illimitable sensual and insensate joy, accessing points of ecstasy that no angelic lover could ever locate, or plunging me into gibbering weeping hells of pain that no torturer could ever devise. Music makes me write this sort of maundering adolescent nonsense without embarrassment. Music is in fact the dog’s bollocks. Nothing else comes close.
AND I CAN’T $@#%ING DO IT
I can’t so much as hum ‘Three Blind Mice’ without going off key. I can’t stick to the rhythm of ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ without speeding up. I can’t #@%ing do it.
Until tonight I hadn’t read Fry’s book for, I guess, a decade but his words still rung in my ears like the silent cacophony of a monsoon downpour on a steamy Chennai afternoon.
Web design is much the same. A user can know that a website or application works for them, or the corollary that it doesn’t. He can know when using a product is a joy, but he may be entirely unable to articulate why the experience is joyful.
I don’t know what specifically it is about the site that rings my bells, what I do know is that despite having almost no information in my trial account, I spent a good ten minutes playing with the widgetised dashboard and moving and bouncing those widgets around like some sort of electronic game of tennis. (The dashboard, or so Robert from Equator tells me, was developed by Esria and Equator developed some extra configurability for it – it truly is a thing of beauty – check out a sample here)
I’m going to go out on a limb in what will come across as a statement chock full of whoring for Adobe; Flex totally rings my bell (and no, Adobe don’t pay me, although they’re welcome to if they like ). Of course I have no real basis upon which to make that statement – I don’t know if it’s a specifically Flex attribute that gets me all mushy but what I do know is that the sites I’ve seen that utilise Flex all give me the warm feeling of A Thing Well Made.
In anticipation of the flurry of comments saying that I’m attributing something good to the wrong place, that Flex is just the delivery mechanism and the design still needs to be right, I say sure – but I still like the inherent stuff that Flex seems to enable. And to pass, for a minute, to one who actually knows about this stuff, Robert Owen from Equator says;
I love Flex apps too, so much so that I gave up my day job just to develop in it… I think it is the "flexibility" of things that is attractive. Within Flex you can style things to change the skin, things like tab height and curve, colors, fonts, etc. But the basics are the same, it’s almost difficult to build something ugly. I believe you’re right in saying that flex apps display certain characteristics, things like the pop up boxes, transitions, text entry, etc. and they are, by default, beautiful…
So yeah – someone else agrees, Flex helps make A Thing Well Made.
And so, in a nice circular completion to this post, I leave you in the glorious words and music of Don McGlashen and The Muttonbirds with a piece of music that I, and Stephen Fry, can enjoy, but can’t $@#%ing do;
‘cause when a man holds a thing well made,
There’s completeness when a man holds a thing well made.