Keep It Simple
I've been toying with really simple user interfaces lately and it has made me more aware of the philosophy of simplicity and observant of attempts to be simple. In many ways, as Merlin Mann says, it is essential to "shut off anything that's noisier than it is useful". And as Kas Thomas says, "We know that something like 30% to 40% (some experts say 45%) of the features in a software system are typically never used, while another 20% are rarely used". So the simpleness of a user interface not only allows for simpler development, it also improves the user experience. As I observe simpleness, I begin to see patterns all over the place. The latest figures on netbooks show that they are, apparently, the bridge down to the pocket computer we've all been predicting for years, and which has probably already arrived in the form of the iPhone. Some of the iPhone's success can be attributed to keeping it simple. As John Gruber points out, "There's a long list of features many experts and pundits claimed the original 1.0 iPhone needed but lacked". Obviously the features it shipped with were enough. You even see the advantages of simplicity when choosing which language to use for a particular purpose.  On a larger scale, it is beginning to look like the era of big business is getting what it deserves - less profit. The advantages that small companies can bring to the customer gives them a huge advantage. 37 Signals appears to have gotten it right with their strategy of:
  • Less features
  • Less options/preferences
  • Less people and corporate structure
  • Less meetings and abstractions
  • Less promises