The longer and larger a system grows the harder it is to change its foundations.
Users invests time and resources into many different ways of using a system. The larger a system gets any change has higher probability of impacting more people.
Qualities of the best systems:
- have high quality foundations, which usually means a slow and attentive growth at the beginning
- creators figure out a really hard task of tweaking the system foundations as the system grows
- Law: American Constitution has more than 200 years and only 19 amendments.
- Art: Very often artists at the beginning of their careers develop some style, ways of communicating, visual shortcuts for self-expression and stick to it for the rest of their lives. Wilhelm Sasnal said that first he was searching wide and later in the career he will probably go deep within the style and approach he developed at the beginning.
- Software: Compare the complexity of old vs. new software. Photoshop vs. Sketch. Evernote vs. Bear. Microsoft Excel vs. Airtable. Complexity makes the software harder to use. Let’s take the example of Photoshop. Photoshop grew a large user base and slowly accumulated a lot of features. Photoshop creators didn’t prune overlapping features. And currently the software has too many features and too many ways of solving things. There is a lot of users relying on some particular features and because of that it is very hard to restructure or delete it. This complexity makes it slow to use for advanced users and difficult to learn for the new users.
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- QWERTY vs. DVORAK: QWERTY is the layout for the keyboard invented to be the slowest to type. Typewriters got stuck because people typed too quickly. It became the computer's default and it is now a standard in all of the keyboards. DVORAK is a layout that is the most efficient to write but is used by a small number of people.
For example, Mohammed asked Muslims not to eat pork, and they still follow this command thousands of years later. The US Constitution made certain design decisions that still affect America today. Confucianism won the philosophical squabbles in China around the birth of Christ, and its ethos still influences modern China. link