Just finished Giles Colborne’s quite excellent Advanced Simplicity workshop. I read Giles’ Simple and Usable book recently so it was great to have a go at putting the ideas into practice.
According to Giles, simplicity is not an objective quality but a subject experience. And advanced simplicity is not about dumbing down or giving customers a lesser experience. It’s about the simplicity of genius - making the complex simple.
As well as some quick activities, each table was given a larger challenge. Ours was to put a slide deck editor on a smartphone so you can use it in the back of a taxi in the 10 minutes before you arrive at a meeting.
We stripped all the design features and just let the user focus on the content. They would sort, add, hide and edit slides. Editing slides would just mean choosing or changing the layout and tapping on placeholders to add or edit text and choosing pictures. I particularly liked the fact that if you screamed in terror after you made a mistake, the tool would reassure you in a friendly voice and undo you last change.
Other groups had great ideas for simplifying home heating controls and camcorders.
So, when you are designing the next big thing, resist the temptation to add expert features and work hard to keep the simplicity that mainstream users love.
Author: John Waterworth