This story from Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography says a lot about how usabile products change us.
When it came time to launch the iPhone, Jobs decided, as usual, to grant a magazine a special sneak preview. He called John Huey, the editor in chief of Time Inc., and began with his typical superlative: “This is the best thing we’ve ever done.” He wanted to give Time the exclusive, “but there’s nobody smart enough at Time to write it, so I’m going to give it to someone else.” Huey introduced him to Lev Grossman, a savvy technology writer (and novelist) at Time. In his piece Grossman correctly noted that the iPhone did not really invent many new features, it just made a lot of features more usable. “But that’s important. When our tools don’t work, we tend to blame ourselves, for being too stupid, or not reading the manual or having too fat fingers… When our tools are broken, we feel broken. And when somebody fixes one, we feel a tiny bit more whole.