Monday, May 24, 2010

The Twitter Principle for Software

Not long ago I saw a tweet about our software that really hit on one of the standards we try to achieve with our software products. It was phrased in such a way that I really just loved and it has stuck with me:

@debreuil I'm still amazed WavePad is 500kb. The Twitter principle for software, if you can't say it in less than a meg...

Keeping our products small is very closely related to some of the usability issues we have talked about before, especially our goal to have customers actually using our software in three minutes or less. We strive for a fast download, simple program, and simple interface as much as possible. We want our software to be a quick, easy and intuitive solution, and the program’s file size plays a major part in reaching those goals.

We have set the bar high in this arena and there is always room for improvement. When preparing new releases of applications, programmers are warned if the file has grown by a significant amount, it's a flag that maybe a feature hasn't been streamlined as much as it could be. We are very cognizant that, in this internet age, people have been conditioned to expect results quickly, and by keeping the executable size of our programs we are catering to the user's desire to use a program as quickly as possible after downloading.

It is nice to see that someone has recognized some of this underling effort. With Twitter, it can sometimes be a challenge to condense what you want to say in the very limited space of 140 characters. You want to keep only the things that matter. We try to do that with our software too. We try to get to the heart of what people will want to do with the application and make sure we not only do that well but that it is as easy for the user to do it as possible. I think that focus is what makes the “Twitter principle for software” phrase fit us so well.

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