When it comes to product differentiation, it's easy to assume that more product features will result in a more desirable product. With technology developing at such a rapid pace, a common mistake is to put so much emphasis on creating new capabilities in an effort to “one up” competition. Design, however, is taking on an increasing level of importance with regard to differentiation and good design principles teach us that less is more. So how do we design a better product. Do we change its shape or size? One of the biggest lessons I've learned from Apple regarding design is to “rethink” the overlooked details. The beauty of Apple products is the culmination of many little things that may go overlooked or unnoticed at first glance but combine to create a wonderfully differentiated product that, with use, customers grow to appreciate more and more.
So why reinvent the wheel? Every electronic device you own has a plug and there are many standardized plugs to choose from. But, do you want your product to be “standard”? The whole point is to differentiate your product, not “standardize” it. Even the simplest thing, such as a plug, can be improved on. The decision has to be made to make every simple thing matter and take every small opportunity available to improve the product. Stop piling on feature after feature and instead focus on every small detail of your product. Ask yourself: Is there a better, simpler, more pleasing way to do this? Next time you plug in your MacBook take 20 seconds to really appreciate the plug. The magnetic connection. The little green light. The way the chord can be rolled up. Let it inspire you and your product designs.