Over two decades ago, Richard P Gabriel proposed the thesis of “Worse Is Better” to explain why some things that are designed to be pure and perfect are eclipsed by solutions that are seemingly limited and incomplete. This can also be true in software development.
This is not simply the observation that things that should be better are not, but that some solutions that were not designed to be the best were nonetheless effective and were the better option. We find many examples of this in software development, some more provocative and surprising than others. In this talk we revisit the original premise and question in the context of product development and user experience, challenging some common ideas of what delights the user, the customer and the market and what should (or should not) be simple in a product.