User interface design is a fine art. Being able to display a massive amount of functionality while not overwhelming the user is a balancing act, and one that developers often get wrong. An article by Rands in Repose questions whether software which suffers from information overload (like Photoshop) could learn anything from game designs like Portal, and offer a more intuitive user interface. The methods you learn to play a video game with — Rands dubs it "mastery by well-informed improvisation" — can also be applied to other software.

The author concedes that the two pieces of software "reside in two different universes with two entirely different motivations." However, he feels that the learning curve (and eventual eureka moment) that comes with a game like Portal could dramatically improve the experience for users when it comes to using complicated tools. The obvious counter-argument here is that Photoshop is a professional productivity tool, and that ultimately speed of use is essential. It's equally possible that some users have that same moment of realization using Photoshop — but would having that goal in mind alter the way some of our favorite software is developed?