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  • Charlie Jackson

Bloatware

Updated: Apr 14

I understand the desire of software companies to keep producing new revenue from old products. But what this leads to is . . . bloatware. Programs become bloated with features, many that are not useful, because a company wants to keep selling updates.


I also call it “kitchen-sink software”. Throw everything including the kitchen sink into the program in order to sell updates. (Or is it, throw everything into the kitchen sink?)


But people are really tired of it. Many people complain to me about how a lot of major software titles have become unusable. They have become so complicated that it just isn’t worth the effort to figure them out. The one I hear this about the most is Photoshop.


And if you combine this with poor interface design, like most software from Europe, a program becomes a nightmare. I have no idea why, but Europeans think that having a bazillion icons for things is good interface design. It’s not.


There have been many times when I see a new program that I would say right away, ‘oh, that program was made in Europe,’ and then when I checked it out, I was right. Icons are useful as a reminder of what the feature does, once you know that fact. They do not make for good discoverability.


The thing is, it’s actually much harder to keep a program simple and elegant. It’s the easy way out to just throw more features in and add them to a list in an attempt to have the longest list.


Final Cut Pro 7 is infamous for having four different ways to do things. Adobe Illustrator often has three or four different ways to do something. Just watch a YouTube how-to video and you'll see what I mean.


I just read the other day that one of the most used programs on the planet had 1,500 commands, and that was in 2003! Holy schnikies, Batman, can you say overload? Can you say, people will only be using about 10% of that program’s capabilities (but probably paying for all of them)?


Here at Silicon Beach Software, we are taking up the challenge of keeping our programs simple and elegant, yet powerful enough to be useful. It’s quite a challenge, but one we relish.


SaviDraw is our first try. Let us know how we’re doing.




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