How to create better products? Say no by default

I stumbled across Derek Sivers post, Say NO by default, via Joshua Porter’s Designing for the Social Web (which I’m sure I’ll write about once I’ve consumed it).

The post struck a real cord with me. Particularly the following:

Say no by default – in design, business, and even life. Simple is beautiful. Instead of doing something “because you can”, consider thinking “only if necessary”.

Also the anecdote about how Steve Jobs defended the simplicity of the iPod/iTunes concept to independent record label executives:

In June of 2003, Steve Jobs gave a small private presentation about the iTunes Music Store to some independent record label people. My favorite line of the day was when people kept raising their hand saying, “Does it do ___(x)___?”, “Do you plan to add ___(y)___?”. Finally Jobs said, “Wait wait – put your hands down. Listen: I know you have a thousand ideas for all the cool features iTunes *could* have. So do we. But we don’t want a thousand features. That would be ugly. Innovation is not about saying yes to everything. It’s about saying NO to all but the most crucial features.

The post is bang on the mark. Features should be argued in rather than out. Products should focus on doing a few things really well rather than being all things to all people.

Another favourite quote of mine on this subject comes from Richard Seymour:

Innovation starts with people, not with enabling technologies…if you forget this you risk delivering feature-rich rubbish into already overcrowded lives.


2 responses to “How to create better products? Say no by default

  1. Pingback: Two sure fired ways to succeed in software development « Simpler is better

  2. We have a quote in Brazil that sounds like this: “A duck does a lot of things, but none of them is well performed!”

    So, if a product is like that duck, that have a lot of features but not only the necessaries, chances that features are well done are almost null.

    Instead the product should have less features and they should be the crucial ones so they can be well designed and be worth it.

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