The most interesting writing on usability I’ve read this week isn’t about software. It’s about board games and their components (hardware?). Shannon Appelcline starts with Monopoly, and goes on to the prototypical game of the type I used to play a lot (and would like to play a lot more, but that’s another story/post).
The Settlers of Catan could have felt like a complex game with the constant need to reference rules. After all, you have a number of different land types, each of which produces a specific resource, and a number of different potential buildings, each of which requires different resources to build.
What Catan did well–perhaps even brilliantly–was that it linked together all of this information in simple pictorial form via the components that were constantly in front of all the players.