Digital technology is cheap. Mass production makes hardware cheap, and although it's expensive to write, software is virtually free to manufacture and distribute. Unlike in the physical world, digital features take up no space and don't make a product more difficult to make. The result is that it doesn't cost any more to put lots and lots of features into our digital products. And so we do. After all, it's what users want. Isn't it?

No. Or at least, probably not. Either way, the one feature every user wants (unless you're writing a game) is ease-of-use. But putting in too many features confounds that aim, for a host of reasons, including:

  • The features interact with each other – usually badly
  • The user can't form a clear view of what the product is, and what it's for
  • Extra features get in the way of core features – users can't find their way around

For these and other reasons, I've long believed that feature rich = usability poor. If you want your product to be easier to use, trying making it do less. (It'll make your life easier too.)