What is the secret to great software for human beings? Not just any secret, but the secret?
The qualifier "for human beings" is an important caveat to this dramatic question -- because there is lots of great software which performs work not strictly for human beings. For example, powerful mainframe software manages the insurance contracts for millions of insured people. While the ultimate beneficiaries of such marvellous technology are human beings, the sorting and update and retrieval of these records could better be described as "for the organization". Software "for human beings" implies software that is directly and specifically intended to augment the brain power of an individual human. Examples of software "for human beings" include email clients, contact managers (CRM), personal information managers (PIMS), word processing etc., graphics editors.
The secret to great software for human beings is support for narrative. Narrative, which is a more formal way of saying "story telling", is about the meaningful progression of events organized starting from a single point of view. Stories can utlimately weave together many individual stories, but the building block of narrative has to be the story from one person's point of view. . . . read more