Plain language: the main thing

There are some things in vehicle construction that are openly recognizable in terms of their quality, and there are the closed things that only prove in action what they cannot do. There is more and more of the latter, as software in high-tech cars already accounts for half of the value added, and the trend is rising sharply. We buy hidden things by list, because we care about the resale value, without which hardly anyone would buy a new car today. On the compost heap of this problem area grows the weed of every software development: the common featuritis.

Today, when we complain about the many small defects that have become a matter of course in cars, we blame them on electronics, because electronics now occupies such a large part of the vehicle construction. In reality, electronics almost always make our vehicles more reliable. Just imagine trying to build a vehicle with today’s functionality without electronics. It would not get ten meters far. No, the high error rate that has become a habit is due to the high overall complexity of today’s vehicles. And as the main culprit for the misery, the featuritis stands here in the pillory: offer everything possible, but nothing of it correctly.


I first encountered the word "featureitis" in application development. For the younger ones: an "application" is the german word for an "aaapp". If one wrote an application, then one had to market the product afterwards naturally. In marketing it is even more noticeable than in emails to your boss that most people do not read the first letter of the headline, but answer blindly. Write only, the joke medium of the seventies, is today everyday life in each rough office.

Since in the best case little is read, thus marketing may consist only of few catchwords. The most important of these are a list of what it can do. Who had developed a text processing, wrote there thus for example purely "has a spell check". If you think about it for a moment, you will notice what information is missing: the quality. If you really want to use it, you don’t want just any spelling checker, but one that helps you in a meaningful way. And here we are with the featureitis in the car.