Keep it Simple Stupid. I can’t remember how long ago it was that I first heard this acronym, but it’s something I believe should be at the core of any business model or Investor Pitch. In the early years of the web – people tolerated flash intros, lots of different fonts and cheesy cartoons and even dealt with clunky websites and software products that were difficult to navigate, but that has all changed – people want simple, easy-to-use functionality and looks.
A cluttered website like a bunch of text in a pitch deck is distracting and confusing for both users and investors. If your product isn’t the simplest one then someone is going to build something similar, make it easier to use and steal a few (possibly many) of your customers.
Google Search seems to have started the trend and Apple has definitely raised the bar for everyone. It’s time to focus your start-up on simplicity.
So what can you do to make your product or application simplier?
1. Say no to extra features. Everyone wants to add additional things to their product and some customers will even ask for special features. Build special features for certain clients and charge them for it, but don’t include every request in your product. Kill those features that only 10% of your customers use or at least inform those customers where the new buttons will be located and hide them on a second or third page or on a little button in the comer.
2. Look at it from the customers’ viewpoint. What happens when a customer starts your product or lands on your webpage? What’s preventing them from having the best possible experience with your product? How much of the text is really necessarily needed to get the point across? Help make it easy for you customers. Give them an Easy Button. Reduce Clicks. Eliminate Messages. Avoid Alerts that are not that important.
3. Specialize. Focus on what you do the best and outsource the rest. If you’ve got the back end covered, hire out the front end design. Spend your time on doing what you do and not “playing” in other areas.
4. Post a sign on your desk that says K.I.S.S. Constantly ask yourself how this can be done simpler? Review your technology and your application frequently. Talk to your customers.
Don’t forget simplicity moves fast. Innovation means it won’t be long until someone else comes up with a simpler way. Companies that win in the long term will be the ones that tackle bigger problems with even more simple solutions.