Influencers Answer: Is It Complex to Create a Simple Product?
Jack Dorsey, creator of Twitter and founder of Square, once said:
It’s really complex to make something simple.
You’d think that it’s simple to build a simple product, right? After all — a simple product does not have much features, therefore there is not much to design or build. Right? No, unfortunately that’s not the case. Dorsey found it extremely difficult to make Square’s credit card paying app and device simple. Yet it’s a very simple product.
Dorsey is not the only one with this reasoning. John Lilly, former Mozilla CEO and partner at Greylock , had dealt with this same issue (like many others). Here is how he explains the problem:
The thing is, getting to simple is not simple. It’s hard. Knowing how to simplify — and, actually, crucially, what to simplify is a hard, hard problem. Simple actions that nobody does don’t matter. Hard actions that everyone wants to do are good, but vulnerable to simple solutions.
We were curious to hear from our friends, who have developed products we all love and use today, about their experiences dealing with this problem. We asked them the following question: Is it really complex to make a product be simple to use? Here’s what they had to say:
It is one of the hardest parts of product design to create a product that feels simple to the user. It means that you, as designer have to think really clearly and carefully about what problem you are solving or what new need or want you are both creating and satisfying. Then you have to do the magic behind the scenes to take the complexity away from the user, and do it in a way that still makes them feel in control — better yet, powerful.
That’s the sign of a great product. It feels like it has always existed — like it SHOULD exit. That it just flows.
— Dave Sifry, Founder of Technorati, OffBeat Guides