Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

Expectations Out of Whack

While I make an effort to avoid reading most comments and user review that I encounter online, sometimes I’m drawn to them. And usually I regret wasting those few seconds that I spent reading those comments and reviews.

Case in point: I recently read what had to be two of the dumbest reviews of a pair of mobile apps that I’ve read … well, ever. No, they weren’t professional reviews (although I’ve read more than a few reviews written by pros that have been less-than-smart); they were left by users.

The first review was for a checklist application, which the reviewer gave it one star out of five. The complaint? That the app was too basic. I don’t know what that person was expecting, but it’s a checklist. It’s supposed to be basic. What does it need to do besides let you create and view and check off completed items in a list?

The second review was for a to-do list app. Again, the reviewer gave it one star out of five, with the comment Too simple to the point of being useless. Again, what’s a to-do list supposed to be other than simple?

Talk about expectations being out of whack. Folks, as I’ve said before simple isn’t a four-letter word and you shouldn’t treat it like one. For many things, simple isn’t just an option. It’s an essential feature.

In the case of the checklist and to-do list applications, they’re as complex as they need to be. The fact that they didn’t, for example, pack a calendar or an alarm is irrelevant. They were obviously built with simplicity in mind.

Adding more features, piling more complexity on top of something doesn’t necessarily make it better. Doing that just adds bloat. Doing that shoehorns something simple into a form that it was never really meant to take.

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