I know it sounds like something obvious but I recently realized that it is not. When we write a piece of software then there is very often the urge to finish it, make it work and get on with our lives. The new things are always so much more interesting and then such “minor” things like user interface, design and performance get thrown overboard so quickly. It came to me when I was thinking not about software actually but about umbrellas, funny, isn’t it?
Well, the thing is, I can’t seem to find one which is at the same time small but still durable and good looking. There seems to be just one design which more or less works for everybody and just gets copied all the time. It is in fact so prevalent that you don’t have any other choice anymore (except for size, then there are other designs too). It’s not that I want anybody to find me a nice umbrella, it’s much more far reaching. When you look at any product with many players in the market, starting with umbrellas and going to the technological fields, it seems to me that many designs get copied. This results in good products which are usable for many people and there’s nothing to say against that of course, the only question that comes to my mind is, why so rarely somebody thinks about pushing the product to the limits of the technically possible (or feasible, if we want to stay with this website’s name).
A good example for that is Apple vs. the rest of the computer manufacturers. Let me make it clear that I am no Apple Fan-boy, quite far from it. I prefer other alternatives which give me more freedom in the things I can do with my gadgets. But be that as it may, one thing that Apple has been good at, is pushing the limits. The question that comes to mind is, why nobody bothered to make slim computers which push towards the limit of what is possible in size reduction and usability before Apple did? Why has nobody built a tablet which is sexy before Apple did? There are enough players in the market who are comparable in size or used to be bigger even but still they were just content with what they had. Tablets were introduced before the iPad but they were chunky, not sexy and didn’t work very well and I can’t blame anybody for not buying them. The success of this product does not just show that the time for this category was right but that finally somebody produced something that you didn’t have to be ashamed of lugging around in public.
The same with laptops. I believe it would have been possible much earlier for anybody to build slim laptops. It’s just so much easier to stay with the tried and true design and convince oneself that it is selling well, so nobody wants anything different. I’m talking of course about the Macbook Air. It’s just slim and sexy as hell. There are still so few competitors in terms of design for those categories of computers and I just hope that this will change at some point.
So, I decided to start with myself and start producing not just any software but instead software that I can get behind and say, this is as good as I can make it. It’s easy to get something to work but it doesn’t mean that it will be fun to use yet.
That’s my plead to everybody out there for today, push the boundaries of your own abilities even if optimizing your software for speed or making your product more durable and slim (and sexy) is so much more boring than just getting into that new cool project! I know, there’s the cost factor also to consider but I believe that this investment in quality will pay off big time later on, be it in customer satisfaction or less returns.
Thank you for reading, now get on with your cool fantastic project which I will love to use once it’s ready 🙂