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Thinking Paper

Go green, everyone says. Paper kills trees. Paper is wasteful. Let's face it, paper can get out-of-hand. Yes, actual paper has limitations. But those issues aside, the "concept of paper" represents one of the greatest innovations of mankind. Without it, where would be be? Writing on cave walls?

We live in the age of computers but the things we do most with the computers is create electronic versions of paper. Emails, doc files, spreadsheets. Things we pass around. Paper.

Ever wonder why Aestiva's Power Office software is designed like electronic paper? Because paper is practical. Paper is more intuitive. We took one of the most important design concepts of all time and ran with it.

Power Office requires almost no training because it uses the paper metaphor. Everyone understands the idea of filling out a paper form. Reviewing it. Approving it. It's why Power Office is so much better at business process automation. We didn't kill paper. We embraced it. We took the concept of paper and improved it.

Real paper has limitations. It takes resources. It sits on your desk. Paper metaphors, such as Doc files and spreadsheets, sit on your desktop. They're out of sight from managers and other team members until you pass them along. Power Office forms are forms that do more. They can be viewed by multiple people at the same time. They are very "able" - submittable, approvable, rejectable, reportable, copyable, auditable, closable, archivable, and manipulatable. (Did we forget any -ables?)

We improved what paper can do. But you wonder. What if we hadn't made Power Office paper-centric? What then?

You would have endless screens of tabs and options and configuration settings. You would need to send your users to training seminars to use sophisticated applications. Improving your system would take five times longer. Instead of being free like a bird, you'd be imprisoned by screen after screen of inputs. What a nightmare.

So the next time someone tells you about the evils of paper, let them know paper sets you free. Without it, we'd still be writing on the walls of caves or passing information by word.

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