Yesterday, during my early morning run through the town of Laughlin, NV (btw, too many hills in my path lead to skipping my run today, ouch), I was listening to a Dishy Mix podcast guest hosted by Adam Kleinberg (CEO of Traction). In the episode, Adam interviewed Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora.com. It was fascinating to listen to Tim talk about Pandora and how it is making huge changes to the way people listen to music. I can't wait to see where Pandora goes in the next couple of years, as I am a huge fan.
One comment Tim made really made an impact on me. He stated "I think people ultimately want easy. what the web does is give you easy and personalized", which isn't rocket science, but is often overlooked by product developers. I think it is often the case that product developers think they're making things easy for users, but they often get too close to the product and over develop.
There are so many great products available today on the web and in the general public, but many of them take a lot of work to setup and take full advantage of. I often find myself loving certain products, yet I give up on them because I don't want to put in the necessary work to fully utilize. Terry White recently wrote about his experiences with Apple products (as he often does and I feel gives the best unbiased reviews of Apple products, and that's why I follow his blog) in his post "iTunes 9.0.1, a closer look" how Apple has many great enhancements they're launching, but they're not quite fully developed. He touches on Home Sharing, which I've never really heard of but would love the ability to use this Apple service. That said, I'm guessing I would have to put in many hours to get my network and computers configured correctly to take advantage of this.
Is it easy enough for the average person? I seem to be asking that question fairly often, and the answer usually is "No". Products are asking people to make a large commitment in order to take full advantage of the whole service.
I think Pandora is a great example of "Easy". They've developed their app to work with very little interaction from the user, the web to mobile versions translate perfectly and utilize the same interactions. Pandora has nailed "Easy", I just hope they keep the vision moving in a simplistic manner and don't add to many bells and whistles like so many product developers do.