A current Technology Review article deals with the question: “What is the secret of Apple design?”
Among others the author interviewed Don Norman, a former vice president of advanced technology at Apple, and in my humble opinion he hit the mark:
The hardest part of design, especially consumer electronics, is keeping features out. Simplicity is in itself a product differentiator, and pursuing it can lead to innovation.
The slogan is old but it is more than ever true: “Keep it small and simple!”
In an interview at Software 2007 SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner also advocated a “minimalistic” approach to application design.
Note that this doesn’t has to go along with a clumsy appearance – it’s sometime quite the contrary.