Join Dr. Neil and Maridee at our nsquared office in Sydney as we follow up yesterday's chat. Discover why more is less and less is more in terms of software development. Enjoy!
Monday, August 24, 2009
More is Less
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I agree at a high-level with the sentiment that less is more when it comes to software design. Learning to constantly ask yourself how you can simplify your application and justifying every feature against a benchmark of simplicity is key.
However, I do take issue with some of the overly generalized advice in this video. Especially the idea of stopping when you've satisfied 80% of your users. Dr. Neil honestly seems to be suggesting that you just give up on 20% of your potential audience on every project. This is just a completely ridiculous way of looking at design if you take it literally, and he seems to mean it.
What if I designed a 100 floor building with elevators that only went to the first 80 floors. That's still serving 80% of the users right? And it certainly makes the elevators simpler, that's 20% less buttons!
That might seem like an extreme example, but there are certainly plenty of features out there that are completely essential to a small segment of the user base. In fact, I might argue that an application like Microsoft Word, for instance, has an abundance of features that probably serve less than 20% of its users, but that still puts them in the millions. If MS switched completely to an 80% version of Word, I do believe there would be a lot less money in Redmond.
My point is this: we should be talking about simplification in a way that doesn't start by casually discarding 1/5 of the audience. We should be finding ways to make the '20%' features easy to find by those who need them, and easy to ignore for those who don't. That might have been Dr. Neil’s intention, but it’s not how it came across.
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