I’m reading subject to change by the good folks at Adaptive Path right now. It’s an interesting book that discusses features and design and why people like using what they like using. It’s all round good stuff.
At the same time I’m reading a lot about the credit crunch and how people are no longer spending as much as they used to how people are looking for a bargain and how places like Asda and Aldi here in the UK are gaining market share as users try to save more on their expenditure. That makes sense for every day goods that people need like bread and milk and other daily necessities, but it doesn’t hold true for the success of the iPhone 3G – which even Swisscom has run out of. If people are tightening their belts why are they spending on an iPhone?
Here’s my hunch, design is a powerful tool against downturns in the economy. When you spend a lot of attention to detail on design and build something that users want – and sure marketing and inventory controls probably have something to do with it – you’re likely to see off the headwinds and do okay. Building more features which ratchet up the price of a good isn’t a good strategy. Design is about making things simple and elegant, and during a downturn less is definitely more.