Bountiful Quantities of Useless Features

March 02, 2007

What has been described as "creeping elegance" is probably better described as "feature blight", for like a fungus on a plant it gradually elaborates and blurs the true outline of the product while it drains its sap. The antidote to feature blight is, of course, the "constricting deadline". This results in features being discarded in proportion to the time it would take to implement them. It is often the case that the most useful features take the longest to implement. Thus the combination of the blight and the deadline yeilds [sic] software as we know and love it, comprised of bountiful quantities of useless features.

Jeff Raskin, Why Software is the Way it is

When building software, the temptation to add nifty but useless features can be very strong. This temptation becomes almost irresistible when a clear vision of the final product is missing. What separates software that people love to use from software that people have to use? In many cases, it's the discipline to say "no" to feature blight.