Simplification With Feeling

strut_appDesign is a passion of mine. There’s something about a product that is designed really well. Some people think that great design means stripping a product down as much as possible while still allowing it to work. I think that’s almost right, but not quite. I think the right balance is to strip something back to the minimum necessary for the item to function while still evoking some feeling from the person using it. I find that the nicest cars are not the ones without seat cushions or interior door panels. Sure, the car will still drive without them, but it won’t feel right. Not to mention that it won’t be much fun to use.

There are a few apps over the years that remind me of that oversimplification problem. I won’t be making any mentions because I believe that most of them are gone or radically different than when I used them last and I don’t want to malign their earlier attempts. Most apps go so far in the other direction thought, that it feels like you need a user manual to do anything. They just pack in feature after feature into nested menus that I swear you need a map in order to figure out how navigate to certain features.

One app that I started playing with today seems to have a struck balance that really works for me. The app is called Strut (iTunes Download) by Thickpolicy, LLC. It has a really clean interface with ¬†limited colors and is focused around a map and just the information and controls you need at that moment. When you are in screens that track stats ore options, the look and feel of the app becomes like a really stripped down, easy to follow infographic. When you gain a new level or badge, there is a nice, basic animation that feels retro modern to me. If you don’t know what I mean(and I have a hard time explaining it), you’ll just have to check it out. After a few minutes of using the app, you’ll have earned your first few levels and badges, so it won’t take long to see what I mean. So, do check it out.

Now, this post isn’t meant to be a review of the Strut app, but I do want to say that I enjoyed playing with it today and I’ll be using it as long as I continue to enjoy it. It’s rare that I stumble across an app that delights me immediately the way this one does. I just love the design aesthetic and the functionality of the app. Plus, I love to travel and I love to explore new places and this app is all about that. Even better, I’ve always had this weird desire to know what parts of town I have and haven’t gone to, so that I can track down the last places I haven’t been, so that I can say that I’ve seen the whole town. This app gives me an easy way to keep track of that effort and a little extra push to follow through with it. So, I find it very cool. Now for the big question. How do they monetize this? They aren’t yet, but I’ll be interested to see what they do with all this data they are gathering. Especially, since I haven’t even been presented with a privacy policy yet.

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