An Ode to Good Software

Here is a simple but powerful insight I learned from working at a software company: Good software doesn’t make you go through unnecessary clicks (I guess touches is the better word for mobile.. but let’s stick with clicks).

Of course there are other important characteristics of good software to be mindful of as well, such as having an aesthetically pleasing interface, intuitive navigation, and fast response time. And the Number One rule is that the software needs to work. People will quickly leave your product if it’s buggy or does not deliver on its key functionality.

Click count matters though because it can be the difference between a feeling of flow in your work that your software supports, and feeling like data entry is all you do.

For the past 5+ years I’ve been developing a life game called Optimal Self.

It is a simple game where I gain or lose points for different things in my life.

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My life game dashboard — The trendlines show scores over time in different areas.

At first I wanted to write a blog post about the power of tracking and visual display, how it’s transformed my life and can transform yours too …. but decided that’s going to be a book instead (Support the project on Patreon!).

Today I want to talk about the data collection side of things: how pleasantly surprised I am by Apple’s Numbers (at least compared to Google Sheets), and where I’d like to go with it in the future.

Here’s my current data collection workflow:

(1) Open the Numbers app (2) Select the cell I want to add a point to, (3) Press the keyboard icon, (4) Replace the number of points, (5) Press ‘Done’ in the top left. And that third click wasn’t even there before which was super nice, but this is still better than the Google Sheets app.

In this case, to add a Satisfying Preferences point (such as if I packed well for a trip), I’d just type 3 in my phone keyboard and it would replace the 2 points there previously. Google sheets, on the other hand, first makes you erase whatever was there before (two or more clicks!).

Here’s what would be nice in the future, along with the respective click count.

(Clicks: 1) I open Siri and say “Plus one Satisfying Preferences”

(Clicks: 0) The point gets automatically generated from another app. I don’t see how/why I would do this for the Satisfying Preferences category, but for categories like Health and Spending, there are definitely ways.

Interested? Questions? Thoughts? Let’s chat!

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