Limitations are Features Spread Over Time

In his blog today, Paul Krugman talks about constraints and the difference between writing for his column vs. his blog.

One of the hardest things about writing the column, as opposed to blogging, is the length constraint. It’s really, really hard to say something meaningful in a limited space.

And yet, that constraint has its virtues: it forces you to be concise, to figure out what you really need to say and skip the rest, to find turns of phrase that are shorter and usually plainer. And my experience is that the process of doing all that almost always makes the thing read better.

Krugman is spot on, and it is one of the reasons why his blog is a great read. Freedom to write long and without limitation has consistently been one of the hallmarks of writing online – and I would argue that in a lot of cases, it’s been a detriment to the reader and to the quality of the story. It should also be noted that these constraints are not merely space limitations on a page – but space in the mind and attention span of those who read your content.

Take note app designers, product developers and bloggers – well set limitations are feature people appreciate over time.

ps – See deck.ly as case in point.