"This is why UX design is becoming such an important aspect."
Agreed. UX design and its concomitant usability testing are hugely important IMO, but are still largely unappreciated if not ignored altogether in many instances. For example, I wonder how much usability testing Ford did when designing their all-touch infotainment system, which they recently back tracked on?
Simplicity is not necessarily an attraction. What if Instagram allowed you only take a photo w/o any post processing?
No doubt the market penetration of Instagram is inspiring. I agree with Barker's analysis. The success story of Instagram shall be a good reference to wannabe entrepreuener. One key point that Barker brought up is "we should be thinking like our customer." Engineers are generally smart. They have ability to go through complicate logic and make 10 steps to achieve 1 goal. Yet, regular people doesn't enjoy it so much. They already have a complicate business to run and day-to-day task to deal with. For fun, simple is better. If there is an apps that can deliver a similar feature of a sophisticate application, I am sure most people will jump to it. Instagram delivers. With 2 to 3 clicks, you have your favorite images shared.
Having said all these, we shall not forget the contribution of cats to the success of Instagram. Meow!
My Mac tendancies probably are shing through although the success they have had (in many consumer sectors) would indicate that there are worse ideologies to follow.
As the others have commented, it comes down to the market and the end user. However, as a user of a complicated semiconductor wafer tester for 2 years I can promise you that even proffessional tools and products could do with some simplification of user experience, if not simplification of features.
This is why UX design is becoming such an important aspect. These people were laughed at in the beginning "you specialize in designing interfaces?" but now they're proving that SOMEONE should be intelligently designing interfaces, not necessarily letting the "construction crew" do the job. There's a lot of work involved with making a complex action seem simple, or leading people through a confusing process intuitively.
UX design can make a complicated thing ALSO be a simple thing.
I agree. It depends on the market and the user (a power user vs. a user not so enamored of gadget itself but what it can do quickly). Even so, I would think every user (even the power user) would appreciate the convenience of not having to wade through a complex GUI with a lot of menu items. They all want a clear, easy to use GUI.
I have to agree, it makes a big difference who your target customer is. For consumer electronics products though, I agree with Simon -- simpler is better. If the consumer needs to read a user's manual to use the product, it is likely that it has been over-engineered with too many features & options.
It really depends on your market I think. If you want non-tech people to adopt your tech, you have to make it simpler. If you want techy people to play with your toy, you need to add complexity and flexibility.
There's no debate that more features means more R&D and more quality control issues, but sometimes the audience you're marketing to WANT the choices regardless.
As for the idea of something limited becoming too niche, the same can happen with something too wide open. I think more often, the key to a tool getting utilized is the experience using the tool. Is your market audience going to enjoy using this?