Cumulative feeling of quality

Here is a nice (old) post from Sam Ng at Optimal Usability about Ben Goodger’s presentation at Webstock last year:

“Ben Goodger, lead engineer for the Firefox browser, obviously believes in the power of the user interface and credits their ‘less is more’ philosophy as one of the key reasons for the browser’s success. As part of this philosophy, they made sure that the interface was clear, removing words or interface elements wherever they could to increase clarity. They also had fewer and more useful options, only including a configuration option if 15% or more of users were likely to change it. And they worked hard on using smart defaults, like turning the pop-up blocker on. All these small changes created a ‘cumulative feeling of quality’.”


Designing for the 80% majority (or 85% in this case) is a great idea.

Sam – this is good stuff, what’s happened to your blog?

One thought on “Cumulative feeling of quality”

  1. As much as I’d like to take credit, that post was my partner in crime Trent. I must have amused myself with what seemed more important than Webstock at the time…

    But, it’s interesting you bring this up. Just yesterday I was talking to a startup entrepreneur and he was struggling with this very thing. He wanted to have the product meet the needs of 95% of his (perceived) user base when I thought 70% was more than enough.

    Here’s a final thought fits well here:
    There is a common but erroneous belief that complexity and goodness are always directly proportional, and an increase in one dimension equates to an increase in the other.
    (From an interesting short read from Dan Ward on “The Simplicity Cycle”)

    While most of us would agree with this in theory (it sounds like a nice thing to believe), many of us struggle to do this in practice. I know I am with our latest web product. And I should know better! But it’s still hard.

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