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The Nintendo Switch
Taste of Quality #5
Hey friends! 👋
Not even a sustained Tuesday evening Substack outage can hold back this wave of design gratitude! 😅 🌊
Hope you’re all having a good week.
If you’re new here, this is my weekly Design Gratitude series, where I share my love of things well-crafted and highlight the people who make them happen.
With that said…
Design gratitude 🙏
This week I’m grateful for the Nintendo Switch.
I admit, I didn’t play a single video game in the time between graduating high school and the start of the pandemic. But, like so many others, I found them to be a great release when I was holed up by myself in the midst of the early lockdowns.
I dipped my toe back into the video game waters with a Playstation, but then found myself gravitating towards the lighter fare offered by Nintendo’s console, eventually buying the OLED model that was released last year.
So why’s it a good design? Let’s count the ways.
Rams Principle #1: It’s innovative
Where the Switch knocks it out of the park is supporting multiple modalities of play.
Being able to not only support, but gracefully move from a hand-held to console experience is a real achievement. To then drop a useful tabletop modality in between is just such smart design.
I find it fascinating that this innovation was in part born out of the colossal failure of its immediate predecessor, the Wii U. Nintendo took a shot with the Wii and hit their mark. Then they took another shot with the Wii U and missed. Then, based on insights from that failure, hit again with the Switch.
It’s a good reminder that innovation always carries some risk, but that doesn’t mean you should stop stepping up to the plate and taking swings.
Rams Principle #8: It’s thorough down to the last detail
There are so many little design touches that round out the Switch experience.
The satisfying way the JoyCons snap into place when you slide them onto the console body. The micro animations when you interact with UI elements. The sound design as you click across those interactions.
It’s so very thorough in so many ways.
Honorable mention → Principle #3: It’s aesthetic
I held off buying a Switch for the longest time simply because I thought the aesthetics were bad. That changed with the OLED model and now I think it’s actually a pretty sharp looking little device! So kudos to Nintendo for upping the quality.
Coffee break links ☕
A person to follow
Karl is a subscriber to this newsletter and has shared some thoughtful ideas and useful tools with the community on Twitter recently. In response to my question asking about tools people built for themselves to improve their workflow, Karl shared his awesome suite of Figma utility plugins: Plugins.run. Not only are the plugins useful, but the site he made for them is really nice.
Great work Karl! You get the ‘well-crafted’ award of the week! 🏆 👏
A video to watch
This video was 100% created in a lab by the YouTube algorithm for me.
I try to keep it positive on Better By Design since there’s so much negativity elsewhere in design media, but the combination of voiceover from Roman Mars (of 99% invisible), snazzy Vox video production and an appearance from Don Norman himself made my cave.
So let’s agree to collectively shed one giant tear for all the people forced to use these poorly designed doors and move on with our day! 😭🤣
A website to remind you the internet can be fun
I don’t want to spoil it for you… but it points… at your pointer 👈
One of the things I cherished about my early days in creative technology was making really random, fun stuff just for the sake of it.
I’ve been heads down building enterprise cyber-security tools (pretty much the exact opposite of that) for a half decade, so when I stumble across sites like this they bring me a lot of joy.
It’s so silly… I love it.
If you’re doing cool design things and want to share, let me know! Tag me on Twitter or comment on one of these posts. I want to highlight the great work you all are doing!
And if you’re getting value from this newsletter, the best way to support me is to share it with someone you know who shares our love of design. The more the merrier! 😃
Signing off 🖖,