There was a mad rush to build Feature RICH applications. And then there was 'Less is More' conundrum that everybody has been touting about. And if you just read it the way many people understand it and wondering what is better for your product, then for sure we are all missing the point. Joel reveals the mystery.
Devotees of simplicity will bring up 37signals and the Apple iPod as anecdotal proof that Simple Sells. I would argue that in both these cases, success is a result of a combination of things: building an audience, evangelism, clean and spare design, emotional appeal, aesthetics, fast response time, direct and instant user feedback, program models which correspond to the user model resulting in high usability, and putting the user in control, all of which are features of one sort, in the sense that they are benefits that customers like and pay for, but none of which can really be described as â€œsimplicity.â€
Source: Simplicity - Joel on Software
So 'Less' in 'Less is More' does not exactly mean Startups/Developers/Designers have 'Less' to do. Infact, you got to do a lot more design to do things that looks so 'Less' and Usable. Its called 'Elegance'. And designing a elegant interface is nothing but 'less' work.
An elegant solution is one in which the optimal outcome is achieved with the minimal expenditure of effort and expense. Elegant solutions embrace an overarching philosophy of doing far more with much less. (Source: ChangeThis Manifesto :: Elegant Solutions: Breakthrough Thinking the Toyota Way).
Not in any sense, lack of some thing needed is 'Elegant'. And, some times it doesn't make any sense to have less when 'More' is actually elegant. Neither 37 Signals nor Joel's blog have blog posts categorized. That is pretty inconvenient for readers and yet a clever decision by design for the 37 Signals and Joel. If you are a regular reader, it might not matter. But for folks like me, who get to read blogs once in a while, categorised posts will save my time. Otherwise, Whether I like it or not, I end up reading every post on their blog. Some times end up reading posts that are totally irrelevant and useless.