A Lack Of Features Is A Feature

There’s a lot of features in technology and games. This setting, this button, these new photorealistic graphics, etc. Seems like we’re drowning in features, or at least what people tell us are features.

Now some features are obviously B.S. Not sure we need an AI bidet. Some “user enhancement” is data tracking. With a great deal of effort I’m not going to talk about such “fake features.” I’m going to talk about features not being features, and their lack would be its own benefit.

Features that would be a feature if we didn’t have the feature, if you get my drift. Which now that I look at that sentence, you may not, but I like it so reread it until it makes sense.

We’ve all dealt with apps and technology that have so many features they’re now not useful. No one uses all of them, they’re confusing, and it makes getting what we want done harder. But also each unusable feature is also time put into code, put into support, and something that can break code and screw you up.

The onslaught of features is less useful, less stable, less reliable. It makes me wonder if software would be better off more modular for people who don’t need “the self-publishing graphic features that blow up your document once a day.”

Less features or modular features as a feature.

Let’s talk super-optimized realistic graphics. Great for say, rendering movie effects. But is it needed for Call of Shootbros: Apex Duty? Does everything have to look realistic? How much more time does this add to development, debugging, and support? Yes I’m sure it drives sales and brings in planned obsolescence, but maybe things could be easier.

Resilience and stability of a system, of development, etc. would be a feature we’re missing. Seems often when fancy new games come out on PC I hear about all sorts of graphics and stability issues.

What about applications that let us stay always connected? I’m not going to diss social media, but even when we ignore the ad-driven crap and the like, the speed is a double-edged sword. The feature is useful, but one we have to use with caution.

Some features are useful, but with discretion.

All of the above features do things and have their place. It’s just they may be overwhelming, pushed, or just things we didn’t think about. At this rate not having them, or having them restrained or gated kind of feels like a feature.

Hell, maybe we need to rethink the idea of “feature” in software and tech. Or maybe I just used the word way too much in this post.

Steven Savage