Simplicity as Strategy
The hot new feature in product and service design seems to be simplicity. Matthew Glotzbach of Google showed a slide at a recent presentation that illustrated this perfectly. On one side of the slide were an IPod and the Google search homepage. On the other side of the slide was a screen capture from a typical enterprise management system (picture your association management system). Guess which products people like better?
Life in the 21st Century is enormously complex (I bet you didnâ€™t know that). I have six phone numbers and three email accounts. Walking down an aisle in a supermarket recently, I counted 14 different types of Cokeâ€”not Coca Cola products, but actual varieties of Coke. Linda Stone, former director of the Virtual Worlds Group at Microsoft calls this â€œthe tyranny of endless choices.â€
To make things worse, many companies have continually added new features to products and services as a differentiation strategy, but the result of this approach is often a degree of complexity that makes the product less instead of more desirable. Many of us are now asking, do I really need all of these features?
Which may explain why companies like Apple and Google are having such great success and being so widely copied. Jonathan Ive, Appleâ€™s head of design and the genius behind the IPod and the beautiful iMac, is a fanatic about eliminating the extraneous. Like Ive, Linda Stone believes that the key to differentiation may lie with less, not more. She says that for every feature we add to a product or service, we should be asking: does this improve quality of life? Does it fulfill a real need? Does it help people filter out the extraneous as they define it?
Sounds like good advice.
|| Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (1)|