Fighting the "modern" and the "traditional"

I have an extremely bad opinion of the word "modern". Any time something is described as "modern", I know it is going to be worse than it's older equivalents (not counting some cleanup that might have happened in the process of making it modern).

Modern design is dumbed down, less efficient, less to the point, less unique and interesting, and wastes space and the viewer's time.

Modern software is slow, bloated, has a ton of unnecessary crap yet somehow less fundamentally useful features, less reliable, more roundabout about giving you access to things, gives you less control and customizability, and probably sends your personal information somewhere without your consent.

Modern hardware is the same as modern software except it's also designed to break after a certain time so you'll buy a new one as soon as possible, wasting earth's resources and the environment and your money.

Almost everything that you would describe as "modern", you could also describe as "worse". Modern does not mean good, yet everyone is advertising their things as "modern", with the implication that it's good to be modern and bad not to be modern.

As a side note, it is somewhat curious that things that are actually better than old things seem to be seldom called "modern". For example technological advancements aren't usually described as "modern", they're just new technology.

The opposite of "modern" is ostensibly "traditional". While there's basically always a traditional thing that is better than the equivalent modern thing, the problem with the word "traditional" is that it aims towards the old, not towards the best.

We need a new word that is in the same category as the words "modern" and "traditional", except it aims towards "good", not "new" or "old".


For the sake of making this page easier to write I'm going to invent a new word: funcsimple. If you want to describe your product or service and make it look attractive, you would describe it as "funcsimple", not "modern".

Unlike "modern", funcsimple has an actual definition. If you start following crappy "modern trends" that make everything worse, the word funcsimple no longer applies, continuing to call it funcsimple is like calling an elephant "small", it is simply an incorrect description.

Funcsimple things are small, simple, and effective. They only do their job and nothing else, and do not get in your way.

Funcsimple trusts that you have enough braincells to do things yourself without requiring popups and tutorials and hints and notifications being thrown at you constantly, and that if you're stuck then YOU will go to learn more, if you want to do something then YOU will look for the option from a menu.

Funcsimple does not take features and functionality away from you just to make things more "modern".

There's no subscriptions to services. No data collection. No disruptive or slow animations.

Everything is optimized for functionality and getting results while giving the user as much control over things as possible. Looking good is the last priority after functionality, any visual fluff that reduces functionality, no matter how little, reduces funcsimpleness.

Any time an option has to be hidden deeper into menus and settings screens, the funcimpleness reduces. Any animation slows down your actions reduces funcsimpleness.

Funcsimple tools do not need to be configured to be funcsimple, they are funcsimple by default.

Funcsimple organizations will hire only the people it needs, and it hires a few people who are good, not many people who are cheap. There are no managers, someone who's doing the work is designated to also make decisions and manage the work.

Funcsimple things seek to increase capabilities while simultaneously reducing architecture and dependencies. For example replacing a settings screen with a text file where options can be edited could be seen as funcsimple, it is far simpler yet more flexible than a hardcoded settings screen, and is easier to backup and read/fix/translate and for the developers to maintain, and you can add comments and personal notes into it, you can save configurations and swap them... Of course it won't work for all cases and certain settings are better as visual than as textual.

Funcsimple sometimes goes against "accessibility" and "noob friendliness", but isn't inherently so. You can't always get everything, some compromises have to be made one way or another, but you can always think how to make something funcsimple without making it less accessible.

Funcsimple doesn't tell you what things should look like. Ugly things can be funcsimple, but so can beautiful things. It does however tell you that looks should not take priority over functionality, any visual "improvement" that sacrifices functionality reduces it's funcsimpleness.

Funcsimple aims to keep things simple. Your web browser already has a download screen, a website does not need to add it's own download screen in-between. A single link like this has and does everything that a download in a website needs: kiss.jpg. This link does not need to be "implemented", it has 0 dependencies to anything else, it does not need javascript, the entire process of downloading that file into your downloads folder takes 2 clicks, it took me longer to export that image and thumbnail than it took me to type the HTML code for that link, you can offload the file transfer bandwidth to another server just by changing the link. This is a very funcsimple way to add a file download into a website. You could make it look better with some CSS if you wanted to, that would not compromise on the funcsimpleness.

The "KISS principle" is exactly what I'm talking about, however it does not make sense to call something "kiss". A sentence like "this product is kiss" would be very confusing.

The power of words

I have always been a strong believer in the power of words. The words you use change how people think about what you're talking about, and it changes how you yourself think about it.

If you use the word "MMO" to describe a videogame, people will immediately imagine something similar to World of Warcraft even though all the term really means is "online game with many simultaneous players". A game where people play as hockey players and can explore the back stages and enter hockey matches or watch in the audience and hang out in the cafeteria could be called an "MMO", yet nobody in a million years would ever imagine anything remotely like this when they hear that a game is an MMO. What they would imagine is a third person fantasy/scifi game with crafting and levelups and skills and quests that mostly revolves around killing enemies and/or other players. The question in their mind is not "what kind of MMO is it", it's things like "what will the crafting be like" and "will there be PvP", because the term "MMO" already established most things about the game in their heads.

What if you released and MMO, and instead of calling it an "massively multiplayer online (game)", you called it a "persistent online world"? Almost any game that is currently descibed as an MMO could also be described as a POW, but the mental image that you give people would be completely different.

People are in large part guided by words and the mental images people have of them, and the world needs a word like funcsimple for guidance. The word doesn't have to be "funcsimple" though, that's just something I came up to write this page.

The guidance that the word "modern" gives is to blindly follow whatever new trendy things everyone are copying, even if they make things objectively worse for most/all people involved.

The guidance that the word "traditional" gives is to resist change, even if the change is ultimately for the better.

The guidance that the word "funcsimple" gives is to keep things simple and functional and to the point without wasting anyone's (including your own) time with anything else.