Why features don’t matter anymore

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.

2 thoughts on “Why features don’t matter anymore”

  1. Amen!!

    And thanks for pointing out the article by Andreas Pfeiffer!

    Have you ever read Jame Gleick’s book Faster? He has a lot of interesting observations about the relationship between speed and the complexity of life and technology. There is a wikipedia entry for him, FYI.

    Positive Sharing is always a worthwhile visit! Thanks Alex

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