Another of Jared Spool’s wonderful rants: Experience Rot. It starts out with what you expect, a description of how rot starts with version 2 and over time gets worse. Okay, whatever, right?

Then he hits on something meaningful:

It’s experience rot that opens a market up for disruption. The market leader, slowed down and overly complex, gives a chance for a new company to make inroads. By studying the small number of features that most users care about, and freed by not having a large codebase to deal with, they can implement a simplified version. This version is much easier for new users and a straightforward transition for the more experienced user base.

What Spool is writing about is most applicable to product design, which we do relatively little of at Imarc. Again, okay, whatever, right?

But what’s a Website Redesign if not version 2.0 of a product? So often do we try to out-do the previous site, adding on design elements and movement and “surprise and delight” and bells and whistles and new content and and and and—

STOP.

Maybe we should approach a redesign as though we were pruning a tree to keep it healthy, strong and tall. What can we remove that isn’t serving many people? What can we simplify or consolidate?

So here’s a challenge. Next redesign project you’re involved with, look at what already exists and ask yourself “What could I prune away to make the rest stronger?”