The simple solution is usually the right one. This is a true statement. (It’s also a bit boring.)
This is Occam’s razor, and it applies to the scientific process, detective work, and product development. However, it doesn’t often organically relate to the way CEOs tend to think.
As entrepreneurs, we’re ambitious. We want the best for our products and we want our products to solve all the problems. We want our products to be immediately essential. It’s all about increasing value for our customers, right?
Less is more
This mentality is well-intentioned. However, thinking this way while you’re producing your product can cause you to end up with a Swiss army knife that’s bulky and impractical.
It’s much better to do one thing, and do it exceptionally well, then to do several things and put out a sub-par or confusingly unusable product.
Why? What happens when you try to take on too much with one product?
- Your project is much more challenging to build. A more complicated product will take longer to optimize. There will be more moving parts, more testing, and more associated expenses.
- The audience doesn’t know what your creation does. Complex systems are more difficult to comprehend…and, ultimately, operate. From the very beginning, your audience’s user experience will be incredibly overwhelming. Nobody wants that.
- You’ll have to spend more on marketing. (And explaining.) If your product does more things, you’ll have to allocate more of your advertising budget to show off all of its utility. Unfortunately, longer and more confusing ads may not be as effective.
Keep your product simple and focused
It’s a much better idea to keep your product design simple and focused. Here’s why:
- If your product solves one prevalent problem, your audience will understand (and want!) your product. Immediately. Without complicated and expensive explanations.
- If your product has a simple construction with a small number of easily-accessible parts, it’ll be easier to scale, remodel, upgrade, and duplicate. If you want to grow after an initial launch, great—you’ll be set up to do so well.
The most important thing to remember is that your product won’t seem complex to you. After all, it’s your brain-child. You’ve spent years with it. You developed it. You know it like the back of your hand.
For better or worse, that’s just you! Think about your product from the audience’s point of view. If your product is too busy, then what people ultimately see is clutter. Keeping things easy for your customers is your recipe for success.
Simplicity equals sophistication
Next time you’re considering making your product more complicated, think of Leonardo Da Vinci. He reportedly once said that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
Follow his advice and keep your product development simple—and artistic—and accessible. (And, if that doesn’t work, just read some of the hilarious online reviews of that bulky Swiss army knife for inspiration on what not to do!)