Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Keep It Simple Stupid VS Keep It Simple Smart.

Recently I have been reading an e-book on Google Play Book on Nexus 7. I normally use Kindle for Android, but this particular book was not found in Kindle Store. Nexus 7 is awkward to use in portrait mode, because the bezel is so thin in that mode. On the contrary, the bezel is very thick in landscape mode. Obviously, it is meant to be used in landscape mode.
The problem is that, unlike Kindle for Android, Google Play Book lacks many options. In landscape mode, it shows one page on a screen if it decides it is running on a phone, and two pages if it decides it is running on a tablet, and there seems to be no way to change it. It decides that for users, thus making it simple. But this is also stupid, because Nexus 7 is not much wider than a phone. Depending on personal situation or preference, one may want one page even on a tablet.

Google Play Book, when text size is 150% on Nexus 7 landscape.
Kindle with similar font size on Nexus 7 landscape.
A web site I found from Google said that Google Play Book lacks options but that could be a good thing because of the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle. But is it?

Minimalism seems to have became immensely popular, probably because everyone wants to be the next Apple. But the correct minimalism should mean minimal efforts are required for consumers (or users) to get what they want, not minimal functionalties. I would call the former one Keep It Simple Smart, and the latter one Keep It Simple Stupid. A good software should be simple in a sense that it automatically behaves in the way that most users would want or expect. A better software is simple in that sense, but also is simple in a sense that it allows that default behaviour to be modified easily if the user will.


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