Less is More

I came across an InfoWorld article the other day that warmed my heart.

For far too long, especially on the PC, software developers have been building applications with a feature arms race mentality. Because of rapidly expanding memory and hard disk space on customers’ machines, developers have not had to write tight code in the same way they had to in the early days of the PC.

Now, hopefully Symantec’s focus on creating Norton applications that install in under a minute and consume far less memory will spread to other industry players. Just because I have 4gb of RAM and 160gb of hard disk space does not give software developers the right to consume it thoughtlessly or to make my computer run slower.

Why can’t software developers give us adaptive software?

If I don’t use a feature of a product in 30 days, it should uninstall itself.

Why can’t I choose lean and mean (give me only the basic features) as an install option?

Software should be smart enough to minimize its footprint, while at the same time giving you the opportunity to add a feature easily later. So, an unused feature should get uninstalled, and simplify the menus as a result. But, if I hold the bottom of the menu it should expand to show uninstalled menu features in grey. If I select a greyed out feature it should tell me it is going to re-install it and then do so automatically.

I can only imagine how much smaller Vista, Office, Photoshop, and other applications would get if they were designed in this way.

If you know of applications designed in this way, please feel free to let me know by commenting on this article.

What do you think?

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Braden Kelley

Braden Kelley is a Design Thinking, Innovation and Transformation Consultant, a popular innovation speaker and workshop leader, and helps companies plan organizational changes that are more human and less overwhelming. He is the author of Charting Change from Palgrave Macmillan and Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. Braden has been advising companies since 1996, while living and working in England, Germany, and the United States. Braden earned his MBA from top-rated London Business School. Follow him on Twitter and Linkedin.

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