I’m fascinated by the sensations that the things we use induce in us. Not their usefulness, suitability, ergonomics, or aesthetics, but sensations. I don’t have a better term to capture something as substantial as difficult to describe, but I can illustrate with some very personal sensation-driven opinions:
- Zelda Breath of the Wild’s open world from 2017 feels way more immersive than the technically stunning one in Horizon Forbidden West 2, a next-gen game from 2022.
- Ruby and Python are two programming languages very similar in features and intent, but the sensations they produce in me are entirely different. Python does the job. Ruby puts a smile on my face.
- Regarding personal task managers, I always go back to Taskpaper. I miss basic stuff such as support for rich text and images all the time, but I love the feeling of writing text with the right amount of todo goodies. It feels just right.
- For note management, I gave a serious shot to Craft last year, but I eventually went back to Bear. Craft is excellent, but Bear’s editor and the overall environment felt like home to me, and I could never shake that feeling off.
- I’m a sucker for markdown, editors, and self-publishing pipelines. I had a sweet combo in place with my site, but when I started using Hey World, I began to write way more. I have published my favorite pieces using the very simple composer of HEY, sending an email to the world. A matter of how it makes me feel?
It might seem that you can rationalize sensations, but you really can't. Building the right sensations requires the right high-level intent combined with getting a thousands of low-level details right. You need synergy – sorry for the dreaded enterprisey word. And the more complex the system, the more things to get right. I can't even imagine the work implied in getting a modern $200M video game feel right or the stress of not managing to do it.