Where Science Meets Muse

Museum or Warehouse? Insights on Featuritis from the IIT Design Research Conference

Posted by Plish on October 2, 2009


Today while I was at the Design Research Conferencein Chicago, I listened to the presentation of Jason Fried of 37 Signals.  While primarily discussing his design process through the lens of software design,  he touched upon one particular aspect that is true for all types of design.  In short, he said that good software comes from people who are more like curators vs. designers. 

What does he mean?

Software Designers (in this particular example) have a tendency to want to constantly add more and more features.  Version 11.0 almost always has more features than Version 10.0 and Version 12.0 will have even more than Version 11.0 He built upon his illustration by saying that if you stick every painting in the world in a building you don’t have a museum, but a warehouse of art. 

It’s when you pick certain paintings and put them in a room, when you play the rule of curator, now you have a museum, not a warehouse.

The point is a good one.

The best design is an embodiment of the essentials and not the result of Creeping Featuritis


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