On Voids, Nothingness and Spaces

We live in extremely busy times. Or at least everyone “appears” to be busy or always in a hurry to get somewhere. In our frenzied and hectic schedules, sometimes there are hardly any gaps. No voids, no spaces. Everyone has got to be doing something. At all times. Even if it’s just the mindless scrolling of a social media feed or absent-mindedly checking your mail, slack etc. However, does this have to be this way? Can we instead revel in the pauses, linger between moments, find the meaning in silences, only if briefly?

Spaces to the rescue

Spaces in art

Spaces in Software Engineering

Therefore, it becomes important to know when to draw the line, when to limit adding features or in fact, even remove features for the overall good of the software product. It’s easier said than done though as it requires restraint, and it’s much easier to just act rather than exercise restraint. It also requires a certain degree of self-conviction as it can be hard to measure the impact of omission of a feature, the consequences of which may not be visible for long. On the contrary, adding features is relatively easier as building features implies activity which is easy to misinterpret as progress, at least in the short term.

The benefits of limiting features is especially stark in the mobile app space where the most popular apps are invariably the ones that have imbibed the Unix philosophy of doing just one thing and doing it right. Be it WhatsApp, Uber, Google Maps or Gmail, they all focus on one thing and do it exceedingly well. Maybe, there are a few lessons to be learnt here for the enterprise software industry which invariably ends up churning out products chock full of features to cater to every Tom, Dick and Harry.

Spaces in Life

References

  1. Laws of simplicity by John Maeda
  2. My wife, Shruti, who often tells me — “Take out time for yourself!”

Footnotes