There’s a saying in advertising that campaigns can take one of two approaches:
- Baffle the audience with bullshit, or
- Provide one stupidly simple idea clearly.
I think it applies to user interfaces as well. I think websites often do the first one and struggle to do the second.
I’ve been to (and worked on) websites where the businesses intent seems to be to baffle potential customers with an array of bullshit (features, functionality and even content they don’t need) and make them feel like they need it. Maybe this tactic works, hell it must do given how many infomercials exist in the world, but I like to think customers are maturing.
I’m noticing that companies who take the second approach are becoming more prevalent and successful – I’m thinking Apple and 37Signals. These companies that focus on doing one thing well and not diluting their market perception are the ones flourishing while others (I’m thinking Microsoft) get weighed down by their own bloated products, features and offerings.