Complexity verus simplicity ( WAS: Motorola Motofone User Experience)
7 Dec 2006 - 11:31am
8 years ago
> ...I'd love to be able to find a > cell phone that isn't burdened down (and made too complex) by hosts of
> features I neither want nor need nor use.
Josh Viney replied:
>...why build a phone that has to be a pure phone and can never be more > than that? Why not build a phone that starts off as a simple phone, but
> can grow with users as they demand more functionality?...
I love that idea. One thing I've always hated about software is the
unending feature creep. For the first few years, each new release has
great new things that everyone needs. But once the developers have hit
all the main points, later releases get features that appeal to fewer
and fewer people, while adding complexity for everyone else. I used to
love Microsoft Word, up until around version 3. Now I can't use it for
more than a few minutes without yelling at my computer in frustration.
I wish I could still buy Word with version 3 features only, but updated
to run on the new machines, save/load new file formats, etc.
At UPA this year, a researcher from Samsung (Dongseuk Lee) gave a
presentation on the topic of feature creep, with lots of examples from
the cell-phone world. Forces that cause it, how to fight back, etc.
I'd love to be able to buy simpler, low-featured versions of software,
and then add on additional features as needed. New releases of the core
software would focus on improving stability and ease of use among the
Apple is doing something similar with iLife (simple versions of more
complex software), and Adobe with things like Photoshop Elements. but
as they do additional revs of these low-end packages, I wonder if
they'll be able to resist the siren song of feature creep and keep them
clean and simple?