Simplicity VS “Can We Add Just ONE Thing?”

August 6, 2014 9:22 am

simplicity

 

Simplicity makes users happy. But it tends to make organizations stupid.

People worry their bosses won’t think they’re working hard enough.

Users, of course, do not give a damn about this.

People who think the project will succeed have the urge to put their thumbprint on it.

Users, of course, do not give a damn about this.

People who think the project will fail want to cover their asses by saying “I tried my best to improve it, but it was a bad idea in the first place.”

Users, of course, do not give a damn about this.

Generally, in each meeting, at least one person will say “Can I just add one thing?”

It’s hard to say no.

It’s just one thing.

You want to be nice.

Maybe the person who asked has a point. Maybe they’re so important that you can’t say no. Maybe you are just dying for the meeting to end so you can get some actual work done or go back to Reddit.

It’s just one thing.

It doesn’t hurt usability that much.

So in each succeeding meeting, you will add “just one thing”. When will you stop adding needless thumbprints? When you run out of time and the company has to ship it.

What Can You Do?

You have two easy choices, and one hard one.

Easy choice #1: Be a “team player” (aka politician, suck-up, toady, wimp) who allows every stupid change to go through unquestioned.

Easy choice #2:  Be an intolerably bitter and self-righteous purist (aka prima donna, artiste, unemployable) who will cry and stamp your feet and never allow ANY change — even if it’s actually a brilliant change that makes things more simple — because you are the self-appointed guardian of all that is good and pure in the universe.

Hard choice: Think really hard about what simplicity really is, and what is really best for the user, and work within your thoroughly imperfect organization to get there.

This is VERY hard work. Hardly anybody wants to do it.

But Apple does it. Google does it.

And if you really want to be great, you can do it too.

Getting to simplicity is actually really hard and really complicated.

Users, of course, do not give a damn about any of this.

They just want it to be simple.

Can you deliver?

 

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