Techno austerity

More features = better, right? Wrong.

We've always been frustrated by the reverence in which many people hold complexity. Give someone a planning or proposal document with a lot of mysterious codes, references and jargon on the front and they'll assume whoever made it must really know what they're talking about. Same goes for software. Ensure the interface is jammed with buttons and options and they can be sure they've got a top quality programme here.

We heartily disagree. What makes a document or programme effective is achieving its primary purpose reliably and without distraction. The bumpf at the beginning of a document distracts and confuses, and fails to get across any constructive information. At best it wastes time (and I don't know about you, but my time is precious and I don't appreciate it being wasted without my consent - or at least a bribe) and at worst it makes whatever follows harder to understand and digest.

With software the same thing happens, but on a larger, more destructive scale. We've heard numerous examples of people who look at a programme - which has been bought or even built specifically in order to make some of their everyday tasks easier and faster - and refuse to use it. Why? Because they're afraid of it. It looks too daunting with all those buttons and options - what if they do something wrong? And they're sure they'd never be able to work it out anyway.

Programmes should be streamlined before being feature rich, and features should be designed into the interface that makes the most common tasks unmissable, and the extra options tucked away only for those with the strength of heart and inclination to find them.

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