Meaning beyond the specs

For someone like me it’s always fun when a new device comes out, whether a new phone or a kitchen appliance. Shiny, fresh, new, with exciting animations and cool interactions. Slick graphics and brand new features or enhancements . And of course, the specs! Quad core to the floor! With the PureVision HD Pro Gorilla Glass 2, blah blah blah…

When I get my devices (and I’ve got several, trust me! ) I actually don’t get into the specs. I want to entertain what i like to call “the mythology of use”. what’s the story of how this experience unfolds in space and time, taking it out the box, with setup / registration, integrating with cloud services and unified ID, to doing ordinary things in my daily life. How does it feel, what’s the interaction like, how do I navigate, get things done, pivot to other tasks, store on my body or backpack, etc. What’s the relationship that’s unfolding with me and my other devices (if part of a viable ecosystem). How is that being fostered or supported? Is there memory and anticipation? 

In a word, it’s about “meaning”…the significance of the device and its capabilities and how they map to my explicit or unstated needs and desires. Yes, the specs are important but they are implicitly valued in the form and quality of experience that unfolds over time through discovery and use. That’s how product and brand value is generated, not via detailed spec lists and feature buzzwords chanted by marketing/branding teams. It’s comparable to the menu listing of food items and ingredients, which offers a surface-level view into what you’re about to enjoy. But when the food is delivered and consumed, then the experience reveals itself. 

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