Evan Williams (Twitter) wants simple services

Evan Williams (Twitter) wants simple services

Evan WilliamsEvan Williams, creator of Twitter, asked an interesting question:

What can we take away, to create something new?

Williams thinks that adding constraints to your service can help your users. “The more options you offer, the less often people will use it. If you look at Twitter for example, it’s a blogging app without tools as commenting and images. And of course, there is the post limit of 140 characters.”

When Twitter launched, people started building applications right away. Williams gives us two reasons for this: “Firstly, it’s text only and so integrates with almost everything. Secondly, developers wanted to make up for the lack of features. Some Twitter users even say that if services as Twitteriffic didn’t exist, they wouldn’t use Twitter at all.”

Some other examples of services that had success by leaving something out:

  • Fotolog allows its users to post only one photo a day. It had a positive effect on the amount of comments. Now, the average number of comments on a single photo is eleven. Moreover, it lowered their costs.
  • When Facebook started, it limited the people who could join: just college kids. They opened up later.
  • A very successful dating site only shows their users a photo with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ buttons.
  • When Google wanted to compete with Yahoo, they removed all of Yahoo’s functions, expect for the blank text field and a search button.

Read next: Kevin Rose’s (DIGG) way of doing business