Don Norman has a great article titled Simplicity Is Highly Overrated where he talks about how customers aren’t really looking for products to be simpler, they really are looking for more features. He notes
…people are not willing to pay for a system that looks simpler because it looks less capable… I am not advocating bad design. I am simply pointing out a fact of life: purchasers, on the whole, prefer more powerful devices to less powerful ones. They equate the apparent simplicity of the controls with lack of power: coplexity with power. This doesn’t mean everyone. it does mean the majority, however, and this is who the marketing specialists of a company target. Quite apporpriately, in my opinion.
Joel Spolsky of Fog Creek Software picked up on Don’s article and wrote in Simplicity:
I think it is a misattribution to say, for example, that the iPod is successful because it lacks features. If you start to believe that, you’ll believe, among other things, that you should take out features to increase your product’s success. With six years of experience running my own software company I can tell you that nothing we have ever done at Fog Creek has increased our revenue more than releasing a new version with more features. Nothing. The flow to our bottom line from new versions with new features is absolutely undeniable. It’s like gravity. When we tried Google ads, when we implemented various affiliate schemes, or when an article about FogBugz appears in the press, we could barely see the effect on the bottom line. When a new version comes out with new features, we see a sudden, undeniable, substantial, and permanent increase in revenue.
Both of these articles are required reading…