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Is Simplicity the new Gold?

Written by Michiel Dorjee on . Posted in Exact Synergy

For most business applications the following rules is true: 80% of the users only uses 20% of the functionality. This brings interesting challenges in product design. I already touched this in an earlier article on Functions & Features versus User Experience.

Over the years most products gain more and more powerful features that are often useful for the power user part of the audience, for the rest of the audience these new feature are often considered noise. Customization and personalization are used to address the signal versus noise ratio. Unfortunately this only increases the over all complexity and studies have also shown that personalization is only used by a small group or users.

Companies like Apple and Google have mastered the art of creating simple and powerful products and used this to differentiate from the competition. This is best expressed by Simplicity by Eric Burke. Recently we also see other companies adopting alternative simpler versions of their products. The best examples are Facebook Lite and YouTube Feather. Based on direct customer feedback these companies have recognized that not all users need all the functionality all the time. Especially the more casual user requires a different signal to noise ratio to remain efficient and productive. It’s worth to note that these ‘lite’ versions do not replace the ‘full’ versions but offer an alternative.

At Exact we are also exploring the opportunities that simplicity can bring. You can help by providing feedback and suggestions in the comment section below.

Photo credit: Will Lion

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Comments (1)

  • clive boulton


    Yes – But what I find hard is condensing complexity into simplicity.

    Because business software typically maps business process customizations, which include all sorts of features piled on over the years.

    Also in the context of Simplicity is Time. Time is now shorter. Nearly everyone needs to accomplish more in less time.

    I think this means to save time we need simplicity. But how…

    We see simplicity and time linked in cars. Today’s Toyota Corolla is about the same size as the Toyota Camry 15-20 yrs ago. So Toyota makes new simpler small car the Yaris. Yaris is about the same size as Corolla 15 yrs ago. (and really huge land yatch, gas guzzler is killed off)

    But I think business software is more complex than cars. Software doesn’t go rusty it just keeps on working. Unlike cars, that wearout and get replaced with simpler or newly designed cars.

    I also notice people now personalize their Yaris with custom wheels, colors and other accessories. Likewise people customize their iPhone and the inner workings of iGoogle personalize Google search results

    Perhaps with software we are heading to a new paradigm, a simple platform that lasts ‘forever’ plus the ability to personalize or ‘businesslize’ the solution with customizations.

    May be we we are already there, but need little more time to see the new Gold.


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