Cute, clever, and cool are all important ingredients in a delicious application experience. But often their role is over- or understated. Too much and it’s hard to stomach, too little and it’s all bland.

So how do you get it right? One way to think about it is to treat these three C’s as spices. Spices are there to heighten the flavor of the main dish, not dominate and conquer its entire taste.

You can’t litter your page with darling kittens unless you’re Cute Overload, but you can add a few puns or quirky comparisons to put a smile on someone reading your help section.

You shouldn’t try to discern if someone is writing a letter in your word processor, but you can add a Google Maps link to something you know is an address.

You’d be foolish to make every link a fancy Ajax transition, but you can hide/reveal a very commonly used form with a nice fade.

It’s not about either or. You can be cute, clever, and cool in moderation and end up with character instead of clown.

Credit to Jeff Bezos for planting this comparison in my head.