To Get Better, Try Removing Features Instead of Adding Them

Wil sent me a quote this morning from the book “Made To Stick”:

A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add but when there is nothing left to take away

It is a quote from French Poet Antoine de Saint Exupéry. The quote is so good, yet so backwards in a world like ours where companies one up each other until their products become a bloated, confusing mess. Why is it like this? They just keep adding features and bells and whistles and switches and levers and buttons – all to beat the competition in hopes of getting new customers and also to up sell existing customers. What a shame. They are actually doing the opposite of what they think they are doing – they are making their products more like each other and really difficult to use. The problem is they get so big that locking customers in has become more important than making customers happy.

I can tell you as a designer who strives for simplicity (not for perfection), having a simple product really makes people happy and they come back again and again. It definitely turns away a bunch of people who need more, but that’s OK because there are other products for them. They would not be happy with ours and having unhappy customers (who are better off using another product) for the sake of more revenue would not be fun.

Keepin’ It Fun And Simple