Lest We Forget – Evolution Is Your Friend

There is an old saying called “KISS” (keep it simple stupid). To be honest it’s quite mean in it’s approach, however the first three words have merit. It is often mistaken that people want more features, more power, more more more! MORE! You’re not wrong for thinking that – because they do. Where you would be wrong is not understanding that people don’t know what they want.

“Woah! Jason! How does that even make sense? You’re the stupid one…”

Calm down, there is no need for name calling. Let me explain.

The Misconception

I remember my first mobile phone was the Nokia 3310. It was amazing. Riding to school it would fall out of my pocket and explode on the ground. I would slam on my brakes get off my bike and have to find all the pieces and put them together. The miraculous thing is, the phone always turned back on without an issue. It was most famous for the pre-installed game of snake.


My next upgrade after that was a colour version of the same phone called the 3510i. I thought I was so cool being one of the few kids in school with a colour phone. The reality was though, I could do no more than the 3110, it just looked different and some of the buttons would stop working after a year.


From here Nokia released a string of phones that looked hideous and didn’t make me feel like I was cool for having one. So following the Nokia I had a Sony Ericsson which would freeze all the time which made me not want another Sony Ericsson phone. Followed by an LG flip phone which was a little bit cool because it had a camera (which took really crappy low res images) and would overheat all the time.


So far mobile phones hadn’t evolved greatly – different trends had come and gone and I had always said I wanted Apple to bring out a phone. My reasoning behind this was for two reasons…

  1. I could have an iPod in the form of a phone (imagine that!)
  2. I knew I could sync my contacts to the computer and wouldn’t have to manually re-enter all my contacts every time I got a new phone… That was a nightmare.

Two short years after I dreamed of this world Apple announced the game changing iPhone.


The world (including myself) watched in awe as we saw a multi-touch phone which allowed you to scroll through some apps that everyone else had attempted to do but were always missing the mark. True to my dream it had contacts that synced with your computer and an iPod in the phone. This was all amazing, but it actually was missing some key features of other mobile phones. Let’s look at what it didn’t have:

  • 3G was non-existent even though it was supported on almost all of it’s competitors
  • You couldn’t send MMS even though all the competitors could
  • You had finger prints all over your screen all the time
  • It didn’t have snake or any games really…
  • Battery life was short
  • You couldn’t bluetooth files to your friends
  • If you dropped, it smashed
  • The list goes on really…

Despite all these clear “flaws” the phone went on to sell 6,124,000 units. In case you’re unaware, that’s a lot of “faulty” phones despite the hoards of haters. Heck, there’s still things on that list that are still aren’t sorted.

As the years went on Apple fixed just a couple of the flaws adding; 3G, the App store, MMS and releasing on multiple carriers all around the world but not before it was the #1 selling smart phone in the world (and was known for revolutionising the mobile industry). The iPhone has since sold in excess of 500 million units worldwide.

The Truth

There is a point underlying this whole post and that is you don’t have to have every feature under the sun for your first stint out in the world for your website or app to be successful. In fact the less is more. People won’t be buying your product because it’s got the most features – it’s about how they feel. For me the phones I buy always make me feel cool. With less features you can focus your energies on things people need to create a particular feeling. More focus also means there is more energy and time to do those things right without spreading yourself (or your development company) too thin. Once you’ve hit the market you can roll out the grand plan over a carefully paced release plan based on what features users are requesting the most. I would like to emphasise the word most – not all features. If you do all the features you will go too far and alienate new potential clients.

When you’re starting your next website, mobile app or web app, don’t fall down the trap of thinking you need to have every feature that exists in one bundle because your idea will fail if this is your train of thought. Focus on the key selling points, implement them, get users hooked then roll out other features as you go. Most importantly don’t rush, Rome wasn’t built in a day (nor in a year – in fact I think they’re still working on it) and rushing features out will results in a less than perfect experience – and let’s face it. Your users deserve better.

Up next: Digital Privacy – Should we be digital recluses?

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