Flipboard founder Mike McCue has some advice for companies and designers: make products that have some soul.
McCue said today that many modern products which are designed with big data in mind — like efficiently placing ads or designing cars that are perfectly aerodynamic. That’s made those kinds of products efficient and effective, but still lacking.
“We as an industry have gotten very good at using the data and looking at every square inch of the screen and making it maximally efficient,” he said. “But at the same time we’ve engineered out the soul — where’s the emotion, where’s the inspiration?”
The automotive industry is the most guilty of doing this, because some of the most efficient cars in the world had nowhere near as much artistic flair and aesthetic presence as something like a Jaguar sports car.
“Those cars are superior to the jaguar, they’re reasonably fast, efficient and safe,” he said. “The data left a perfect aerodynamic form, but there’s no emotion, there’s no art.”
McCue said some the most popular products today all include a little bit of “soul.” That’s particularly true when it comes to Apple’s products, such as the iPhone 4S and the iPad, which McCue said were “charged with emotion.”
That’s where tablet computers come in, where the “content becomes the interface,” he said. Giving users a way to swipe their way through a magazine has returned the content back at the front and centre “where it belongs” and “has soul.” That’s made advertising much more effective as well and made readers much more willing to buy products, he said.
McCue was speaking at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco this morning.
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