Moving Beyond Just A Tool

I used a new ATM today and had a great experience. This may sound odd. It’s just an ATM. What’s so special about that? You put your card in, enter your code, get some cash and that’s it.

But instead of a using tool, I had an experience. It was brief, but memorable. Instead of a functional, machine-like instruction screen, I was presented with whimsy. After each of my basic actions, intermediate screens displayed pleasantly styled messages that had a human touch that most ATMs lack.

There was a level of consideration for the end user that totally could have been skipped. It could have been simply engineered, but instead was designed as an experience.

The functional end result was that I took the money and headed on my way. Instead of quickly moving on, I paused and grinned; knowing that someone put the extra effort to turn a tool into an experience.



This could mean a reference to the daily grind of work. But work is actually fun, so that’s not it. Grind could be in reference to grinding coffee, which I like extremely. Could be likely. It’s actually a song by Phish that’s stuck in my head right now.

I can bend in sixty-eight ways
I have lived for twelve thousand days
Twenty-eight teeth inside my head

Grind three types of things and I’m sad that they’re dead