OK. So I’m finally almost brave enough to send you in the direction of my very first ever podcast that I did for the Office 2.0 Podcast Jam. (Assuming you haven’t wandered over there and had a listen already.
I’ve been thinking a bit lately about this ‘cult of less‘ that 37 Signals seems to be leading and whether, in fact, it has an evil side. Well… ok, not an evil side. But is it all as good as it seems?
I started thinking this when I was listening to Peter Morville give the keynote at EuroIA the other weekend. He was pondering the ever increasing abundance of information that we have around us now, and wondering if it was helping us to learn, to make good decisions.
I wondered the same about information architecture and interaction design.
So, I’ve been thinking a bit about these web based project management solutions such as BaseCamp and GoPlan and thinking about what they *don’t* do when compared to more complex software such as Microsoft Project.
Now, don’t get me wrong… I’m not saying that there aren’t some *serious* problems with Microsoft Project but it was, for better or worse, instrumental in teaching me how to be a project manager. This is something that neither BaseCamp nor Go Plan could do.
Similarly, we’ve seen some interesting user testing lately that has shown users asking for more complexity to help enable their decision making.
So our natural response as designers, to simplify the interface, may in fact, be reducing the ability of the people using our software or websites to be able to learn, and to make good decisions.
So, that’s the crux of what I’m thinking of. What do we lose with ‘less’? And is it (always) worth it?
If you want to hear the full blow raving version, you can find it here.
I think I sound a bit less like Judith Lucy in this one :)
Image credit: 37 Signals being featured in HOW magazine