Noise reduction

  • Post category:Principles
  • Reading time:2 mins read

The principle of noise reduction in software systems improves software systems by removing inessential parts and options and/or making them invisible or only visible to selected users.

Reducing the options in a software solution increases usability. This goes for user interfaces as well as technical interfaces. We decide what an interface looks like and stick to it. All-too-famous examples of noise reduction are the Apple iPod and the Google search page.

Adding features for selected users means adding features and under-the-hood complexities for all clients.

Reducing options also makes the software more robust. If we build fewer interfaces, we can improve them. We can focus on really doing well with the limited set of interfaces.

In practice, we see hardware and software tools have many options and features. That is not because software suppliers desperately want to give their customers all the options but because we, their customers, are requesting these options. Software suppliers may view all these requests more critically. Some do.

Let’s aim to settle for less. We shouldn’t build more every time we can do with less just because we can. Also, we shouldn’t ask our suppliers to create features that are nice to have.

There are always more options, but let’s limit the options to 4 or better: 1.