Your Product: Pretty on the Outside, Complex on the Inside

by Both Sides of the Table

Design for the Novice, Configure for the Pro

That’s the mantra of Both Sides of the Table‘s Mark Suster, who touts the belief of “less is more” when it comes to product design.

In Suster’s experience with young and innovative web developers, they wanted to incorporate a multitude of choices, buttons, options—you name it. They were only keeping the “power user” in mind, and debates ensued:

“Of course the debates raged about not wanting to make the system less powerful.  My view—power users always look at all of the menu options to figure out how to juice up the system.  You can always hide complexity into configuration screens rather than the out-of-the-box features.”

Think about Gmail. Easy to use, but packed with tons of tweaks and improvements, quietly hidden in the wings.

Suster also stresses the importance of usability testing:

“It will blow your mind away how people use products differently than you’d intend them to.  You’ll pull your hair out.  And in the end I’m quite sure that you’ll simplify things—not add things.”