How do you Describe Software?

I was talking to my father-in-law yesterday. He’s not a software guy, but we were discussing the HR system he uses at work. He speaks very deliberately, always saying exactly what he means. When he was looking for a word to describe the ideal HR software, he settled on “capable”.

Capable. As in, it does what is needed of it.

I love this idea. Whenever a new technology comes out, be it a new framework or a new programming language, everyone wants to talk about how powerful it is. Or how many features it has (and it had better have a lot).

I think we’re going about this all wrong.

When I discover a new tool, I don’t care about how powerful it is or how many features it has. I just want it to be capable. Capable of fixing whatever problem I have. Capable of filling a need. Capable of doing what I need it to do.

Maybe this is how users feel too. They don’t want us to swarm them with bigger and better software. They just want software that is more capable.

What do you think?

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3 Responses to “How do you Describe Software?”

  1. Francis Beaudet Says:

    I think that what makes software valuable is when it makes the user capable. Rather, make the user more capable. There’s a reason we use software and the real value of it is when it is better than doing it yourself.

    Everyone has a different definition of “better”. The software that turns you into a rockstar is the software that you like best or find the more capable.

  2. Dani Says:

    I like the approcah you take on this…
    I think I am in that bracket you speak of…

  3. dan-menard.com» Blog Archive » The Playbook is being Marketed to Fail Says:

    [...] Specs don’t sell products. Potential users want to know which tablet will improve their day-to-day life, not which one has more RAM. And that’s marketing’s job. [...]

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