The importance of ease of use and simplistic design

I just got off completing a task on Google base. My task was to upload 2500 products for an ecommerce site on to google base. Guess how much time it took me ? Exactly 32 minutes – from the time to download all the products from the ecommerce site, to formatting them into the google base format (which I was not aware of before I started) to uploading the file, to making a few corrections when the upload showed errors down to a fully successful upload.

Now I’ve done an upload to other shopping sites like Pricegrabber and shopzilla. And it took much longer for the same data. Why ?

That lead me to compare the products and I could only point it out to one thing – easy and simplistic design. Google base walked me through the steps. When there was a problem, it showed me a clear link with directions on how to fix it. It kept me away from the internal problems and the page design was clear and crisp. That was not the case with the other products.

There is a reason why products with simple design are doing well. Take the 37signals product Basecamp for example. It would have been so easy for them to clutter it up, add too many things. However the success of the product is in its simplicity and ease of use.

How many of you pay attention to this when creating products ? Is every new feature really necessary. Will it clutter things up ? Will it make the product more complex for the rest of the people that are already using it ?  That’s always a very important question to ask.

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