We recognize a friend by their walk from a block away.
We marvel at the grace of a great athlete. Others may have good form, but the greats stand apart.
Closer to home, we design sculptural products with subtle, complex contours, but when they move, open and react the motion is rudimentary. None of that complexity is carried forward.
We use powerful tools to create an ever more interesting box. We develop processes that allow us to shrink the contents, make them ever more capable of calculation and quicker to an abstract numerical result. We place all these answers behind a pane of glass. We interact by pressing buttons that have been with us for ages. On, off, up, down and querty keys are enough to communicate many things, I suppose. In an age when we talk about designing experiences as much as objects, we do so with a design vocabulary that is largely limited to sculptural aesthetics. We even create forms that suggest motion, but stop short of the next obvious step.
Simplicity is a highly valued element of product design. But what we should be really going for is elegance, efficiency and the thoughtful consideration of complex elements and interactions.
Simplicity is a highly valued element of product design. Any self- respecting product designer will spend time considering ease of use, ergonomic fit and user interface in the development or review of a product. Often these areas present the sole benefits and focus of the development effort.
Before getting to the more granular considerations of simplicity; simplicity of a particular interaction, I think it is important to consider it more globally.
In fact, I prefer to manage complexity rather than promote simplicity.
More than being antonyms, the relationship of simplicity and complexity is like cooler and warmer temperatures.
Heat is a measure of average kinetic energy. The tool being designed and the task the user will perform with it are a closed system. The average energy of this system is constant, the question is which parts of the system should be cool and which ones warm; where do you place the complexity to allow for simplicity in other areas.
Scissors, for example, are a simple tool, but the task of cutting is more complex. A simple set of scissors requires complex coordination; something that is often missing from discussions of product architecture and design approach is the necessity for dealing with complexity.
Taking a step back from the product to consider its purpose, you’ll find that many products are developed to help the user perform complex tasks. A balance must be struck between
Assuming the product is a tool, something with which the user will interact, that tool is not a closed system. It does not exist in a vacuum. So it’s simplicity mean little without consideration of the interaction