A few days ago I finished reading Steve Krug’s book, Don’t Make Me Think. It is amazing how this guy has been able to summarize so many useful advice in what can be read in a few hours. I believe the architects and designers from big corporations should all read a copy of this book, because in the end a big part of the success of a product lies on whether end users like your product and make it part of your life.
It doesn’t matter who you are, if you don’t design your product well people are not going to use it. Let me show you a few examples:
– Skype vs MSN Live vs Google Chat & Voice: Skype is by far the best product, the lifeline of communications for millions of folks worldwide. The other services have the same features, but Skype by far is better. (Maybe that’s why MS bought it)
– Google Chrome vs Internet Explorer vs Firefox vs Safari: IE might have killed Netscape and others, but Firefox came and showed how it should be done, especially with its big community building add ons. IMHO Chrome is the best, I like it’s speed. Like I said, IE had its prime, but not adhering to standards, being slow, and pretending they were alone was not sustainable. IE 9 is trying to fix this, but only time will tell
– Dropbox vs Live Mesh: in this one Live Mesh tried to present an offering that had everything you need and in doing so made a product so unusable that a simple “have a root folder, drop all your stuff there” approach worked as it fitted for the biggest number of users.
And I can go on and on and on… However I just wanted to point out how sometimes building a great product is only a matter of building it usable. You know the old saying, “Elegant simplicity is the ultimate sophisticaiton“. That’s what I try to do with everything I build in my life.
BTW: AS I am writing this post, I bumped into this dialog. I can’t count how many times I’ve said “later” or did the process and it still comes up. This can’t be more annoying!