Too Many Settings is Reflective of Designer Laziness

Read this great quote today from Nathan Barry’s book on App Design. Worth reiterating here:

Cabal Sasser, co-founder and designer at the Mac software company Panic, says that every time you add a preference you are forcing a decision on the user. In many cases adding a setting is reflective of designer laziness. Rather than research and design the best solution you just add a preference and force the decision onto the user. Should the navigation be on the left or right? I don’t know. Make it a setting and let the user decide.

While I think settings do serve a purpose, and I’ve seen many successful apps use additional customization settings as a competitive advantage – I need to be careful about adding the right settings and nothing more. There needs to be an articulated reason to justify if the additional setting actually improves the user experience.

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