Thoughtful reduction is the act of reducing anything to its simplest form. In other words, the simplest way to achieve simplicity is through the method of thoughtful reduction. It’s widely held that Apple cornered the market on this approach with the introduction of the iPod and eventually the iPhone.
This comment is attributed to Aristotle, “An element whose addition or subtraction makes no perceptible extra difference is not really part of the whole.” This, too, points to thoughtful reduction.
But isn’t the simplest form sometimes really in the eye of the beholder, or a particular market segment?
Let’s consider the pocketknife. First there’s the Buck Knife.
Then there’s the Swiss Army Knife.
Two very different approaches and both have obviously taken a thoughtful reduction approach, but they are so very different in their final forms. Yet neither are wrong, and they are both also successful in the marketplace.
Someone thought the spork would be the answer to some unknown to me problem.
It may have been a good idea, but really a spoon and a fork? No thanks. Sometimes a thoughtful reduction needs to take one more step either to reduce the idea one more step or take a step to the trashcan and get rid of it!
Crazy, chaotic webpages. Confusingly, overly complicated television program guides. Restaurant menus. Every where, every day, we encounter simple things that have been made complex by a committee that knows exactly what people want. They are so wrong. I never needed, or wanted, a baseball hat with a drink holder.