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From Webster's:

Main Entry: func·tion·al·i·ty
Pronunciation: \ˌfəŋ(k)-shə-ˈna-lə-tē\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural func·tion·al·i·ties
Date: 1871
: the quality or state of being functional; especially : the particular set of functions or capabilities associated with computer software or hardware or an electronic device


Some view functionality as a buzzword, jargon used in place of more precise speech. However, in its proper context, the word is quite functional (pun intended).

In a world of crap tools and products, recognizing that a device must actually do something useful is an important factor. All too often we get caught up in the sizzle, and only recognize at the moment we take a bite that even sh*t sounds like food if you don't pay attention to the smell. Recognizing functionality as a core value forces the mind to focus on what lies beneath the sheet metal.

The converse is a plethora of functions larded onto a tool that renders it inoperable. A hammer that is also a crowbar, hand axe, screwdriver, and bottle opener will do none of those tasks well. For example, the iPod is not #1 because people want to pay for Steve Job's new liver transplant, but because it does its primary task well and seamlessly, with peripheral functionality intuitively presented in a way that encourages use.

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