Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Watch Out, Big Boys

I hope others with passion for UX find it heartening to see companies like 37signals (Basecamp) & the iRise suite getting some notoriety these days. For me, they exemplify the idea that solving a difficult problem simply and well can often trump over-engineered, feature-laden applications.

These two solve distinctly different problems but do so in a space that's very analogous - a (seemingly) simple, yet very functional approach to tasks/needs that most individuals or organizations deal with on a regular basis. Until now, the choice has mainly been to institute ever larger and more complex software, MS Project or RequisitePro, respectively.

Whether or not these two applications actually do/do not knock MicroSoft or IBM off of their pedestals is beside the point. Rather, I believe that this is the start of where simple, flexible tools and processes start to trump the bloated, micro-managed practices put in place in large organizations and allow small groups of people to make big leaps very quickly.

In fact, 37signals just launched Backpack for your personal information. Hey, they knocked that silly project management thing; why not tackle something a bit more difficult.

In the end, it's about people sharing their contexts, listening to each other, capturing the results, and doing something with the collective intelligence. Most of us need less time haggling about requirements or "managing" the project. Instead, let's build things that solve real problems.

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