Mobilize 2010: Down With Feature Creep, Says Yves Behar

Beware of feature creep! That’s the unfortunate situation when a consumer device crams way too many features into a limited space, and ends up being overly complex, unwieldly and doesn’t do any one thing all that well. According to Yves Behar, President and Creative Director of fuseproject, the vast majority of cell phones and gadgets out there are still bogged down by feature creep.

“Good design uses the process of elimination,” said Behar, who’s design firm has worked on the Jawbone headset, GE’s electric vehicle charging WattStation, Puma and One Laptop Per Child. Instead of focusing on what the device is missing or what needs to be integrated into the device, Behar says he tries to tackle the problem by asking, “what is the idea, what is the feeling, what is the experience? Who do you want to be as a business?”

After Behar builds a relationship with the manufacturer, he drills in on the primary features of the device, and maybe secondary ones, but then insists that the rest of the features are taken out. “Delight in an experience that is simple and clear,” Behar tells his customers.

Apple (s APPL), of course, is the shining example of how design should be used as a guiding process throughout the production, says Behar. Herman Miller is another of Behar’s American design favorites.

On top of simplicity, sustainability is also fundamentally changing products and design. Sustainability is going to change every process, from designing the packaging to designing the hardware, to communicating with the customer, says Behar. It’s not enough to just market that your product uses less energy and water, but the consumer has to feel like they are participating in the effort to make things better, says Behar.

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