Facebook, like many of us, has done some spring cleaning. They announced a new timeline, newsfeed and search (they call “Graph Search”).
In 2011 Chris Taylor wrote “Facebook Is Getting Too D*** Complicated” claiming Facebook was suffering from feature creep. More features, icons, tools and everything was getting smaller and smaller. Places, Marketplace, Apps, Gifts, Timeline, Video Chat. Everything was crowded. The core experience of interacting with friends suffered.
“Engineers, bless their hearts, want to give us access to all the exciting new functions they’ve come up with. But they’re not great at making them simple enough for the average user, or at removing the buttons we no longer need. When a company does have the courage and discipline to slash away at its engineers’ wish lists, and adhere to the KISS principle of design (Keep It Simple, Stupid), it can rise head and shoulders above its rivals and delight its users. Apple is a great example of that, as is Nintendo (the Wii being one of the most simple — and successful — game console designs of all time.)
“Unfortunately for its 800 million users, Facebook does not appear to be that kind of company. It used to be, and its inherent simplicity was part of the reason it was so successful. But now it is falling victim to feature creep — and a roster of settings that are becoming increasingly complex.”
Luckily Facebook got wise.
In the book, Rework, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson suggest:
“Underdo the competition…Do less than your competitors to beat them. Solve the simple problems and leave the hairy, difficult, nasty problems to the competition. Instead of one-upping, try one-downing. Instead of outdoing, try underdoing.”