Once upon a time, we used to buy monolithic products.
You bought a machine(one TV box). But now you buy software.
You had software pre-installed (Microsoft veriety). Now we discover new applications (productlets) everyday.
The proliferation of best of breed productlets, drives the innovations to new heights. College teens and new class of “developers” are becoming innovators.
However these ‘small things’ are creating a clutter at home and on computer. There is no theme. No standards to help keep the the things organized.
Definition : Productlets – Small incremental products or components which are built and distributed by small group of amatuers.
Some design principles for such productlets, that I believe will make them sustainable.
1. Use and forget – I cannot keep 1000s of productlets on my counter / desktop. They need to disappear when not in use.
2. No Install or ownership – Can I just use (pay for it), instead of owning and storing it.
3. Remembers me – While I want to use when needed, it should remember what I did last time (Google doesn’t do this).
4. Adapts to my home environment – A beautiful productlet is not good enough, it should be able to intergrate within my home environment ( with all other productlets).
5. Easy to learn – Does Google need to publish a manual to use their search ? yes for advanced users, there are options, but for average user – just type and enter.
6. Grows smoothly – As one uses it, the productlet interface should mature – no one needs to remember CNTRL-C for copy, it is automatic. So I can use menu for more advanced stuff as I use it more.
Productlets should be more like Car rental service – use it, pay it and forget about it.