I’ve started to notice and interesting trend among the people I follow on Twitter and people converse with in my small nerdverse™. The trend goes something like this: “Does anyone know how to make X app, look/work/feel/do something like Y app?”
In other words they are looking at using a new application, but something about that new application doesn’t work how they want it to work, based only on other applications they have used in the past. It could be the UI itself, a niche feature, or any number of other things.
– Changing fonts in a writing app
– Changing display of todos
– Changing sync services
– Input styles or methods
And truthfully we have all done this in some way. I copied Todoist’s email templates to OmniFocus, for example. And I have been thinking about this more and more, and realized that this isn’t the right way to approach looking at new apps — apps that you hope to replace other apps with.
Back in 2004 and 2005 I was running a custom built desktop with Windows on it. At the time I had just switched to the Mac and was in love with the style and design of the OS X UI. So I started finding ways to make Windows look like OS X. And if you search around, you can still find many people doing this with Windows and Linux.
But it’s a shitty solution, as Windows and Linux were not made to work that way. So what you ended up with is a cumbersome and buggy hack to get things to look similar — but function no where near similar.
You really just need to let Windows be Windows, and Linux be Linux.
The same is true of any new software you try too. You need to let new software be itself. You can’t judge something new if you don’t accept it for what it is. It doesn’t matter if it is software, hardware, or headphones.
Use that thing as it is intended before you even start to think about modifying it to work like something else — you may find that you like that thing better as it is.
At the very least you will know that you gave the software a fair chance to succeed. And it’s fine if you don’t like the way the software works, but it’s unfair for disliking software because it doesn’t work like X — it was never intended to work like X go begin with.
At the end of the day: if you aren’t happy with the new app because it doesn’t work like some other app — why not just stick with the other app?
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