Simplicity

Anyone else remember the KISS principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid? The notion of simplicity in design, in business, or really in life seems to be a timeless principle that we often have to learn over and over again. A recent article suggests that simplicity is good manners. (I think this article was in desperate need of a good editor; one that could help the author develop and organize his ideas in a simpler, better way.) Hidden within this article was the quote from a book he references that inspired my own blog post:

Making a product simple may require a longer and more thoughtful design process. Allowing a product to embody the complexity of its design and manufacture may be faster and less expensive.

Designing simple interfaces, or writing and editing simple information, is not necessarily a simple process. Simplicity takes thought; it takes planning. Simplicity is hard work, not quick work. I think agile development was meant to try to be a simple and quick development process, but I find myself wondering if it makes us lose sight of designing those simple interfaces or writing and editing simple information. Simplicity requires that we really know our audience, so that we know what will be simple for them to use or read. Simplicity requires that we really know our domain, so that we know what simplicity looks like in that environment.

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