The enemy of a great product and a great company is one thing: complexity.
In a company, complexity is what happens when you do things poorly. Hiring the wrong people, adding the wrong feature, all make for extra complexity and worse products.
When you start recklessly adding unnecessary activities, complexity then compounds on itself and before long you are spending your days fixated on things that never mattered in the first place.
That’s why we are adding a new core principle to the company philosophy: simplicity.
Here’s the difference it’s made so far…
People and Simplicity
- Have the minimum amount of employees possible
Hiring unnecessary people, leads to hiring more unnecessary people. They then all need to be managed and time needs to be spent ensuring quality control and brand cohesion. This is compounded by the fact that I’ve never met an employee who actually felt (or would admit) they were unnecessary. Cleaning this up is a nightmare.
PageLines doesn’t need a lot of employees, Simon and I both program and design. We can build the product and the site ourselves. I don’t need to hire a bunch of people to do this for us.
- “Community” is best run by the community.
If you have a good business, whether you like it or not, it’s going to have a community. However, if you try and manage the community, it will try to manage you. People will feel like they have a direct line in and will start yelling very loudly to get their agenda across. This also becomes very distracting.
- Brand: “Simple yet hand crafted.”
As part of the new philosophy, we decided to clean up the PageLines brand and style guide. We removed all the old serif fonts and moved to a simple sans-serif. Also, we changed the design guidelines to reflect a ‘simple yet hand crafted’ aesthetic.
Product and Simplicity
- Don’t try and please everyone
PageLines is now focused exclusively on the needs of *web professionals*.In the past we had issues stemming from creating features that made rookie web designers happy, like color-pickers and wysiwyg interfaces, but got in the way of what experts wanted. Or making features that made experts happy made things too complex for rookies.
Thats why Platform 5 is 100% designed for web professionals. Features like drag and drop and point/click editing are there so that they will have happier clients.
- The law of one.
Great interfaces reduce themselves to one point of interaction. This is the genius of Steve Jobs work, and is something we aspire to follow in PL5.
This is why the entire PL5 interface can be accessed from one button in the WordPress admin bar.
- The 80% Rule
In software, a great platform should only include features that will then be used by 80% of its user base. Features that will be used by less than this should be left to extension. This is the pattern that was followed by the creators of UNIX and also followed by the developers at WordPress itself.
This is why PL5 is extension based. It solves a major problem and hopefully will allow the product to evolve seamlessly for years.
Whether you’re just getting to know PageLines or have been with us through the years, this is one of the biggest philosophical changes we’ve made. It will make a huge difference going forward.
If you have seen the new PL5, you’ll notice the change in direction from our recent products. Looking forward to showing you more of what simplicity can do…