We've long held the view that information isn't information unless it's simple and highlights clearly to the user what decision needs to be made. Recent developments in information technology are moving in sync with our perspective, namely, the rise of apps being developed for smartphones and tablets.
Here's why. The smaller format screens have forced developers to become more careful about what they show and how much stuff they try and get the application to do.
Reducing the scope of the app means that it is simpler, and also means the developer has to think more clearly about what they want to deliver and how they want it to operate. This makes it easier to use, and the ease of use and small scope translates to more widgets sold at a much lower price.
The other trend to emerge is interface integration. In just 4 years the state of the art application integration using Service Oriented Architecture, where applications communicated and co-ordinated transactions between them using messages, has given way to interface integration where interfaces communicate with each other. Yes, they still use services, but in a much more componentised way. These apps have become single purpose, doing one thing well.
Small focused apps equal shorter development time, lower development cost, and quicker return on investment. Or if worst comes to worst and the project doesn't come to pass, the losses are smaller and quicker and there is less sunk investment. These more focused apps suit agile development methods and the finished products are the result of tightly constructed 'user stories' which define the functional requirements.
To put this into context for our industry, the days of an all-singing, all-dancing map with configurable layers that can be turned on and off could well be a thing of the past. Maps are sometimes difficult for some users to comprehend and often have unintuitive navigation which requires thought on deployment. What's more, only 2% of users ever change the default settings, and rarely are more than 10% of the features provided ever used. That is a lot of development effort for no return.
What that means is that maps need to be very simple and clear, because like we said, information isn't information unless it's simple . . .
It will be fascinating to see where this technology heads next.