Last year David Pogue gave a compelling talk at the TED conference – Technology, Entertainment, and Design. David’s talk was on the state of software: simplicity vs. the accelerating pace of complexity. Users, interface design, and a few musical numbers on frustration with tech support, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs.
The 22:00 minute video below is entertaining, informative, and is well worth its time to watch.
My favourite part is about the “software upgrade paradox”.
If you improve a piece of software enough times, you will eventually ruin it.
I couldn’t reproduce the blurry screenshot shown in the video, but opening all the available toolbars in Microsoft Word 2000 still brings the user interface close to madness. I could see the first couple of rows used for point-and-click formating, but just try and guess what the rest of all the features are. Notice how some of the icons are identical, yet all call a unique function.
The hard part is not deciding what features to add, it’s deciding what to leave out.
Remember, simple is beautiful, lets try to keep the software that way.