The ‘Of Course’ Principle of Design

Nicely put… Christian Lindholm:

Most companies (including web startups), he said, are looking to “wow” with their products, when in reality what they should be looking for is an “‘of course’ reaction from their users.”

Simple and obvious beats flashy. So many great designs are obvious in retrospect.

Hat tip to John Gruber.

4 thoughts on “The ‘Of Course’ Principle of Design

  1. “… in retrospect” being the key phrase. Turning that around:

    “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.”
    — Niels Bohr

  2. @Mike: Yes, but my last sentence meant “obvious to *other* people in retrospect.” The designer who worked hard to understand his problem domain and design space could see it before it was there, and brought it into being.

    I think perhaps an even more apt quote here would instead be this from Alan Kay: “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Once invented, it’s obvious to everyone in retrospect that that’s what we needed to do — but it took a visionary to see that before it existed, and create it.

  3. Not sure I agree with that. I would say you can’t get to ‘Wow’ without ‘of-course’. And yes, too many folks try to go straight to ‘wow’. Don’t folks know writing software is difficult. Writing quality software is complex. Writing useful software is challenging. Writing ‘wow’ software is all the above + luck + favor of the gods + humility + discepline + focus ++… ;)

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