Thursday, February 07, 2008

Less Features, More Freedom!!

Yesterday, I participated to a very interesting workshop part of the LIFT08 conference where one topic of discussion was how to design a mobile infrastructure and interface for empowering and enabling marginalized people to produce multimedia art and eventually get some revenues.

Well, being the topic very interesting, one thing that emerged from the discussion was about design choices. With a vague idea of potential users, it is very difficult to select those features that are expected to be useful to them. So the tendency is to add more and more features with the hope that some of them will be actually be used.

Experience tells us that this is a bad practice. In fact there are two important usability factors here:

  1. Users will use technology in an umpredictably way.
  2. Users will not use (unless forced) messy and cluttered interfaces.

The combinination of these two simple (verifiable) factors led us to the conclusion that it might be better to have simple objects with a great freedom of use. This will enable unpredicted and serendipitous interactions that might be used to understand user needs and improve the design.

So I came with a motto that I checked is not yet present on the web:

Less Features, More Freedom!

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