Console Culture: Simplicity

Console Culture: Simplicity

Following the Unix philosophy, we should do only what is absolutely necessary, and do it well.

Console’s mission is to help developers find the best tools. As part of that mission, we spent time thinking about what kind of culture would best help us achieve it.

We came up with four values:

Our first two values are linked in the posts above. This blog post explains the third: simplicity.

Simplicity

Following the Unix philosophy, we should do only what is absolutely necessary, and do it well. Can you solve a problem in less steps, do you really need this new tool to do the job? Strive for simplicity in everything you do.

We will

  • Build compact, minimalist, modular, well documented, well tested.
  • Prototype and iterate, then polish and pay attention to the details.

We will not

  • Create elaborate or cluttered visual UIs where text would work just as well.

Examples

Our newsletter email template only uses a single image - the Console logo at the top. We recently made some changes to the design to reduce the logo size, slim down the intro paragraph, and bring more text above the fold. A table of contents also now summarizes what's in the newsletter. We only use web-safe fonts and there are just a few standard glyphs to separate the "Interesting Tools" section from the "Beta Releases" section.

Since making these changes we've seen engagement increase through our key metric - clicks (which is the only thing we track) - particularly on the contents section.

Another example is the content in the newsletter - the "what we like" and "what we don't like" sections are soft-capped at 300 characters. Sometimes we're a little over, but our goal is to provide an easily digestable review of the tools we feature so readers can decide if they want to check it out.

There are enough lengthy articles, newsletters with hundreds of links and long podcasts elsewhere if you have some spare time! Console is about providing a short digest of the most interesting releases that you can read through in a few minutes each week. That's our culture of simplicity in action.

It is easy to confuse simplicity with a lack of thought or rigour. Finding the simplest solution to a problem is often the most challenging route that demands attention and considered thought. By seeking simplicity we aim to pursue the most elegant and effective solution to the problems we face.

Console newsletter template with contents.

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