Successful Consumer Packed Goods Marketers Must Remember: Content Beats Flashy Shiny Stuff
A great story from Doug Garnett's Blog
Here’s an important tech axiom: Software Developers have far more interest in applying application bells and whistles than people have in using them.
I learned this success lesson on my first project out of college.
In that project I designed a network of Apple 2′s to display wire wrap harness instructions for avionics assembly at General Dynamics. (To be clear…while today I’m in advertising, back then I was a software engineer with a degree in mathematics. Gotta love how life deals our hands.)
Successful People all around me were saying that;
“Apple offers color so this project needs to use it”. And, when I noted Apple’s spec that we lost half our resolution instantly, they responded with soft-logic theories that the increased information from color would make up for that loss.
But the spec wasn’t entirely honest. Once I decoded the Apple II display it turned out the spec was only accurate if we restricted ourselves to 3 colors (2 + black). But if we used 8, we would drop our horizontal resolution by 8 and vertical resolution by 4 to 16 times. (This rookie analysis apparently impressed my boss and we worked in green & black.) More importantly, it was the right choice for the human equation we were working with. Wire harnesses for a cruise missile were assembled by people and required accurate connections for large bundles of wires. It goes without saying that making an interface that didn’t respect the workers just to apply the sexiness of color would have hurt product & reliability for…um… well…missiles tipped with powerful explosives (sometimes even nuclear).