Hey technologists--Keep It Simple Stupid!

Wired magazine published an article yesterday outlining some of the expected technology trends for 2006

and beyond. What first caught my eye was this quote from British

Telecom's staff futurist, Ian Pearson: "We've done 20 years of adding

functionality [to cell phones and gadgets], and 99 percent of that

functionality isn't needed. There will be an enormous

market over the next several years for really simple stuff."

If the TR audience is any indication, Pearson's analysis is spot-on. When my colleague Beth Blakely asked What features would you like for your future phone?, the overwhelming response was, to quote Jaqui,

"a cell phone that solely functions as a phone." Users would rather

have reliable service and a simple interface than MP3 playback and

GPS-based local restaurant reviews.

I bring this up because TechRepublic is in the middle of some

uber-secret site improvements (not so secret that I can't tell you

we're doing them, just so secret that I can't tell you what they are).

We've spent the last year rolling out new functionality—blogs,

tagging, a links directory—and now we're taking a hard look at

simplifying all this into a clean, effective interface that is useful,

not just gee-whiz interesting. Quotes like those above give me reason

to think we're on the right track.

By Jay Garmon

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...