Paul McGowan: Perhaps one of the most difficult challenges faced by any design team is how to keep something simple yet meet or exceed people’s expectations. Apple’s products are famous more for what they did not include then what they did – but at the same time exceeding expectations. That’s a really hard thing to do.
Most companies struggle with this because they try to build a product that keeps everyone happy (not simple) or they try and meet minimum expectations (simple but frustrating).
I’ll give you a good example: Comcast. I bought a new HD TV so I could watch HD programs and movies. Our local cable provider brags about the number of HD channels available so I sign up for their service.
To keep everyone happy, they provide both HD and non-HD channel access. Problem is, they provide no means to separate the two easily and simply for the same program when both are available. I only want to watch HD and my neighbor only wants to watch standard definition – yet each of us has to flip through a hundred channels to discover what they want and if it exists in the format we’re interested in. This is not a simple model.
Now that I have vented about my cable frustrations I’ll get to the point.
The simpler something is, the harder it was to design.
As consumers we tend to take for granted how simple something is and wonder why everything cannot be designed that way.
As manufacturers, many of us are in awe of simple things.
I am adding a new meaning to the KISS acronym.
“Keep it Simple, Smart.”