The complexity of simplicity

Striving for simplicity in site design is a good aim, but in the end, the goals should be ease and clarity of use.

Simplicity is a great virtue, but it is not the ultimate one and of course not a panacea for success. Sure, the fewer steps, taps, clicks, hurdles, fields and distractions in a UI, the better.

Simplicity is important. But ask yourself this- what does it really mean to make something simple?

Most of the times we think it means less that by removing stuff we achieve simplicity. We think that by limiting the amount of choices available to the user their decision will be made easier, or by using bullets instead of paragraphs, the content becomes clearer or by dividing a text in two more users will read it.

The simpler approach is the better approach- mostly.

Take an icon as an example. An Icon as label, without any words next to it is nice, clean, and simple. Icons can save space over text but at the price of recognition. It avoids translation problems, but at the same time runs a high risk of being incomprehensible in many languages.

We need to mind ourselves not to get lost in the simplifying enthusiasm frenzy and overshooting the target, making stuff too simple to serve their purpose well. 
Simple doesn’t always mean less. A better definition would be “just enough”. And as long as the result is to make the site, widgets, products, or elements easier to use and to satisfy users’ actual needs, mission accomplished!

The webs diversity

“Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Albert Einstein

Ett svar till “The complexity of simplicity”

  1. Very well written! Many great intellectuals believed the same idea.

    Da VInci said: ”Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

    William Hazlitt said ”Simplicity of character is the natural result of profound thought”.

    Dieter Rams said: ”Good Design Is as Little Design as Possible : Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.”

    Simplicity or minimalism is not just about removing elements to make it simple and plain for the sake of it, it’s about reducing and refining to make it better which requires great effort and deep thought.

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