Mediocrity is in Demand
We go with mediocre things.
We seldom choose “remarkable” options from what is presented to us – be it fashion, entertainment, art, music, design, software. Unless it is promoted or produced by a biggie. Remarkable things are often radically different from what already exists. Forget creating, even consuming radically different things is always a challenge. Call it herd mentality or playing it safe, we think – let’s do it this way, it’s what most people like.
What do most people like? Can we be certain in our theory just on the basis of what most people we see are consuming? What everyone has chosen does not necessarily translates to what everyone likes. Our comfort zone bubble commands us to choose regular hence mediocre options. This inertia is very strong. The very same people do not question if Apple products are one of its kind, outside of the crowd. Those become remarkable and not crazily different! If an unknown person does it, the inertia alienates the person as an outcast.
In the past few years of Usability profession, I’ve observed several user interfaces being dropped for something that’s an identical twin of a user interface existent in the market. The usual debate reveals the same thought process – “We don’t think this will work, as we’ve never seen such an interface before. Can’t take any chances, users won’t use this; they’re used to something else, more common options.”
We watch movies similar to what has been mass-accepted. Music, clothes, food, all choices are usually made with a prior mass-connect criteria. While we stop and admire the “minority” as something different, we stick with the majority. Even when we don’t actually love the majority option! We think that because the other option is in minority, there must be some issue.
Exactly!!! Without the necessary evidence or reason, we immediately embrace the majority, without realizing that most of the times it’s a mediocre output. Run of the mill. What people accept is most often something that they’ve seen already. Remarkable things can’t be on the scene of what people have seen already. Because if it were, it would be a commonplace and hence mediocre. It’s an anti-thesis.