27 November 2006

There Must Be 15 Ways To Leave Your Laptop

Joel On Software is a very cool resource for anyone who wants to read intelligent, insightful, memorable articles about software design. Joel is funny, engaging and mercifully brief. His stuff always references software, but I think the design principles he addresses apply across a wide field of work.

His most recent article looks at the 15 - count 'em, 15 - ways to shut down your laptop. His point? That's about 14 ways too many. Here's an excerpt
Inevitably, you are going to think of a long list of intelligent, defensible reasons why each of these options is absolutely, positively essential. Don't bother. I know. Each additional choice makes complete sense until you find yourself explaining to your uncle that he has to choose between 15 different ways to turn off a laptop.

Naturally, this made me think of my Simplicity Cycle. Specifically, it made me think of the Region of the Complicated, and of all the rationalizations we make on our journey to that space. Every additional piece of complication can be justified and defended... but in aggregate, these little decisions lead to confusion, frustration and unhappiness.

Read his article. It's short, easy to grasp, and definitely worth the time.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Great article, I think Joel is right on! Reminds me of explaining to a novice how to find/copy/move a file. Too many ways to do it!