Forget About Fashion
September 6th 2016

As humans we're obsessed with the new. The must-have gadget that just hit the market. The latest style paraded down the fashion show catwalks.

Every time Apple releases a new iPhone there are queues a mile long of people wanting to get their hands on the latest package of glass, silicon and metal.

It is in our nature to want what is new and shiny.

In our personal lives this behaviour is harmful on our bank balance, but when it comes to building products it can do much more damage.

Subscribing to the latest design trend or adding the latest fashionable technology to your product only enters you into the perpetual cycle of having to re-invent your product every time something new comes along. You may gain some short-term wins but your product will quickly seem out-dated. You're constantly running to catch up with the new trend.

Remember how QR codes got really popular a few years ago? Seeing one today makes me cringe.

Dare I mention the whole skeuomorphic design trend?

Focus on the things that don't change.

When planning out your product roadmap forget what's fashionable. Focus on the things that won't change.

Amazon pours huge amounts of cash into building more distribution centres so that they can reduce the time it takes for an order to hit your doorstep. Nobody is ever going to wish that it took longer for their order to arrive.

Basecamp works hard to reduce the page load times for their project management software because nobody is ever going to think, "hmm, I wish this page took longer to load”.

Don't look for excuses to use the latest trends in your product. They only have a place if they solve a genuine problem.

It's okay not to be an early adopter.

Apple is famous for being late to the game with new technologies.

There were hundreds of MP3 players on the market before the iPod entered the mix.

Apple Pay launched years after NFC-enabled payments debuted in Android devices.

Smart watches date back to the 90s, long before the Apple Watch joined the fight for our wrist space.

Apple use what’s needed to build the product they want to build. They don't cram some cool new technology into the latest iPhone just so the marketing department has something new to shout about. They’re not battling to match the feature lists of competitors.

Adding things that aren’t needed leads to a bloated product, and that will be a death sentence in the long run.

Great products are born from focus and simplicity.

Forget about fashion and concentrate on the things that matter.

Matt West