Software, Hardware, Silverware

The Tax of ‘New’

Julie Zhuo, of Facebook:

This is how good, simple products become quite the opposite. Like a Katamari ball gunning for a record score, your product picks up more and more features until one day, your typical user opens up your app to see 4 different toolbars and 50 icons littered across the UI. Or they look through your list of services and have to wade through 32 line items spread across 7 different pages. Or they click to open a menu and are presented with 20 different options. Your app becomes one of the ones that my mom needs to call me to figure out how to use (“Honey, what does ‘release and trust sender’ mean?”).

That’s what Apple has been so very good at in the past: avoiding new for the sake of new. It’s why we only get a new iPhone once per year, why we didn’t get an iPhone with a larger screen until last fall, and why we won’t see Apple’s watch until it is ‘insanely great’1.

  1. This iterative design approach is best covered by John Gruber’s oft-referenced Macworld piece on the subject. ↩︎