Dear Corporations: Think Simple

29 Jun

I like small, clean stores with employees who don’t hate their jobs.  I like websites that answer my questions.  I like well constructed products that make sense and do what they are meant to do, all without straining my muscles, wasting my time, or using unnecessary space in my home.

Low on storage space in the bathroom? This product can help solve the problem.

Have you ever felt confused or frustrated by the counter-intuitive design or poor functioning of a product?  Of course you have.

Happy customers are the best advertisements…so why do businesses make us unhappy?

Why not inspire loyalty and referrals through simple design and clear communication?  Is that so hard to do?

Who wants a product that looks impressive but turns out to be heavy, slow, complicated, or just flat out annoying?  Customers want products that make life easier, not more difficult!

Dear corporations and engineers:  If you make it simple, customers will come.


This post was partially inspired by the fine blog posts shown below.

The Elegance of Simplicity | Laurie Foley

Fifty-eight (!) Buttons. Not remote(ly) Sane.  > Snoring Dog Studio

This Vacuum Cleaner Sucks. And Not in a Good Way > Snoring Dog Studio

10 Responses to “Dear Corporations: Think Simple”

  1. Deborah the Closet Monster June 29, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    I ask myself this question almost daily. It seems there are many products designed with first-time buyers in mind. But why would a company foreclose itself from repeat purchases and purchases from friends of satisfied customers just to make one sale now and/or make project timelines with an inferior product? I wish such companies would reassess their strategy.

    • acleansurface June 29, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

      It doesn’t make much sense, Deborah. Just yesterday I was in a store looking for a specific item. I saw one version that looked like it would last a lifetime, for about $25.00, another that was about $12.00 that was actually broken inside the vacuum sealed packaging (how durable can it be if it comes apart before it is opened?), and a third version for about $7.00 made of plastic so thin I could have snapped it with my fingers. I will take the $25.00 version, please. No wonder our landfills are so full.

      • anonnickus June 29, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

        What a time saving inspiration buying your refuse off the rack ready for the landfill prebagged. Still $12 is a little steep. That would be more than an hour’s work at a minimal wage job, all for not. Good point.

      • acleansurface June 29, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

        Anonnickus, the broken $12.00 version was metal mesh, poorly soldered. Not only an hour of work for nothing, but toxic fumes for nothing!

  2. bigsheepcommunications June 29, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    “Simple design and clear communication.” That says it all – if all companies did that, life would be an absolute fairy tale AND I’d know how to use all the useless features on my cell phone too!

    • acleansurface June 29, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

      I’m not sure I would want to live in a fairy tale (too many witches and evil queens), but a simple life would be grand!

  3. georgettesullins July 12, 2011 at 6:08 am #

    Here’s a geometry lesson: “The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.” Let me get to the product not through the packaging. Give me one product not several to do overlapping jobs. Let it be durable so it lasts from year to year without running for a replacement…time, energy and product wasted. (But then, easier said than done…I recently wrote about an item I lost…guilty…my daughter replaced it.) Still I love your blog to keep this reader mindful!

    • acleansurface July 12, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

      Multi-tasking , durable products are the best, Georgette! I recently saw a dustpan that was like a small bucket with one flat side and a straight handle. The dirt stays in! I have always been annoyed that dustpans are so shallow — why didn’t I think of this design myself?

  4. mypajamadays July 12, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

    That made me laugh – employees that don’t hate their jobs! I just walked out of a Victoria’s Secret today because of poor customer service. I tried on 4 bras, twice and still no one came back to the fitting room. Then I stood outside the fitting room holding said 4 bras to ask a question. No one could be bothered. 15 minutes later, I left bras on the shelf and went to Nordstrom’s. They were happy to help.

    • acleansurface July 12, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

      Nordstrom has amazing customer service, Mypajamadays, even their discount store (The Rack). Macy’s service on the other hand, has disappointed me so many times that I stopped going there.

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