The success of the Apple iPod should serve us all as a reminder of this fact: Simple is good.
And in case we forget, there’s this excellent article by Andreas Pfeiffer who formulates it very succinctly using 10 simple rules. Here are some examples:
10 fundamental rules for the age of user experience technology:
1) More features isn’t better, it’s worse.
Feature overload is becoming a real issue. The last thing a customer wants is confusion-and what’s more confusing than comparing technical specifications, unless you are en expert? Only nerds get a kick out of reading feature lists. (I know – I’m one of them.)
2) You can’t make things easier by adding to them.
Simplicity means getting something done in a minimum number of simple steps. Practically anything could be simpler – but you don’t get there by adding features.
3) Confusion is the ultimate deal-breaker.
Confuse a customer, and you lose him. And nothing confuses more easily than complex features and unintuitive functionalities.
Which reminds me of the time Mark Twain wrote a letter saying:
I apologize for writing you a long letter but I didn’t have time to write a short one.
And then there’s this wonderful quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes:
I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.
And that is what we must seek in business: We must seek complexity and then try to discover the simplicity beyond complexity. If you only know enough about your product to present it in a complicated way – one that makes everybody think you must be really clever – then you’re not ready to sell it.
When you can present it in a way that makes everybody realize they’re as clever as you are, then you’re good to go. And that’s when you can create breakaway hits like the iPod.