On Fit and Finish…

2007 November 26
by Dante

Today, my lovely wife Stupid Ranger and I set out into the cold weather to do some Christmas shopping. We ended up as we often do: at Borders.

While she was agonizing over the sale tables, I ventured into the roleplaying section to peruse the new offerings from my favorite publishers and while I was looking at all of the bindings and titles I began to think about what draws me to certain supplements.

I work in the manufacturing industry and there is a concept called “fit and finish” that is used to describe the final touches that are put on the product before it is considered complete. As I looked at those bindings, idly selecting one or two to pull of the shelf and flip through I found that some very superficial things made me actually pick up certain books and look through them.

Things like fonts, cover art, and titles are what initially drew me to some titles. I grabbed a few books and found that their layout or typeface was so appalling that I couldn’t stand to read more than a paragraph at a time, which placed those into the “right out” category. I believe that is why so many roleplaying resources are moving online: you can choose how you want to receive the content, many times controlling the superficial things that help you drive down into the content.

On the car ride home, I was thinking about what good gaming opportunities I may have missed or dismissed purely on these criteria. Essentially, in my opinion usability matters. If the “fit and finish” is off and I can’t get past reading a single paragraph, or I can’t read the chart easily from arms length I very likely won’t buy the book, and often times I have found that I marginalize anything in that same given series purely due to the manner in which the information is presented.

Am I alone here?

4 Responses leave one →
  1. Jeff permalink
    November 26, 2007

    You are not alone, but sometimes I do try and get past all the fancy sauce and just examine the meat and potatoes of the work.

    Have you looked at the Kindle eReader from Amazon? The screen looks like black ink on white paper. How great would it be to have all your resources on a Star Trek like computer pad? Geek out!

  2. Dante permalink
    November 26, 2007

    Yeah, I saw the Sony version at the very same Borders… the display is pretty neat, however the price is WAY more than I would consider spending for something that can’t even do color images yet.

    Thet technology sure will be neat in a few years when it is affordable and more feature rich!

  3. Jeff permalink
    November 26, 2007

    That was my reaction as well. 400 clams buys a lot of games, even those expensive German ones!

    Still, someday it will be pretty sweet.

  4. kaunartist permalink
    November 27, 2007

    This applies to any product selling a primarily visual content – usability is KEY. If a publisher has books with unattractive covers or unreadable content, they need to think about rehiring their marketing/brand team. You are not insane.

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