Take a look at some of the most successful applications in the last few months, even in the last few years. People are craving less. They are tired of overcrowded experiences. Strong evidence of this can be found in the success of applications such as Instapaper and Flipboard.
Instapaper, in combination with the iPad, completely changed the way I consume my daily readings. Now, whenever I see an interesting article, I instapaper it so that I can read it later, when I can give it my full attention, without annoying multiple pages, overwhelming ads, and with less distractions and noise. Even Apple recently added a similar feature to their browser with Reader, a feature that lets you visualize the article à la Instapaper. Some bloggers complained that, in doing so, Apple was penalizing the websites that make their buck from advertising, but in my opinion, when a user clicks the Reader button, this simply expresses a desire for less, for clean, for readability. I’m sorry dear blogger, I love your articles, but I’m sick of your 14 blinking banners right next to it. I’m tired of having to scroll pass your Google Adsense links in order to get to the content. I hate having to go through five two-paragraph-long pages, so that I can help you spike your page views.
Similarly, Flipboard creates a more elegant and cleaner way to consume your Twitter and Facebook stream. Thanks to big images, fewer elements per page, and an intelligent usage of the space, it helps the user focus on the actual content. I feel I’ve been getting so much more from Twitter and Facebook since I have less things to distract my attention. No more cows and gangsters in the way. No invitations to the latest time sink.
People choosing to use these applications are begging developers and designers to create experiences that are cleaner and more pleasant to use. Just listen to them.