1. About complexity

People like to compare “complex” as the opposite of “simple”, thinking that simple is good, but is this really the case?

Perhaps many people have had the same experience. Your room is messy. If your family helps you to tidy it up some time, you will not find where to put your own things; because of the so-called “clutter” in the eyes of others, There is a hidden order for you.

We all know the development iteration of mobile phones, from functional phones to the current smart phones, there are even folding screens and scrolling screens in form; various components are integrated in the mobile phones, and each component is precisely designed and processed There are various apps in mobile phones, so mobile phones are objectively complicated.

Everyone always has a misunderstanding, that is, everyone thinks that they like simple things, but we cannot equate simplicity with fewer functions, and complexity does not mean more functions.

Recall whether you are sometimes attracted by the new features of the products advertised by mobile phone manufacturers, even if you do not need these new features or new technologies.

Many people like to be surrounded by novel features, which of course may not be good. If you are now asked to go back and use the feature phone, will you still get used to it? In fact, users complain that some apps are becoming more and more difficult to use. What is annoying is not the complexity itself, but the “incomprehensible”, that is, the confusing complexity.

The world itself is complex, and complexity is a must; many of the items we use daily are full of complex technologies; the most difficult point in design is to manage these “complexities”, so design is more meaningful.

“The whole point of human-centered design is to tame complexity and turn those seemingly confusing tools into a task-adaptable, understandable, usable, and enjoyable device.”

2. How to deal with complexity

It is mentioned in “Design Psychology” that the key to dealing with complexity is to find two aspects of understanding: intelligibility and comprehension.

  • Comprehensibility can be understood as: Does the design of things have underlying logic as a basis?
  • Comprehension can be understood as: Our own understanding ability and skills, do we spend time and energy to understand and master the structure?

In short, complex applications need to find the objective comprehensibility of things and the user’s subjective understanding.

Looking back at the previous two examples:

The design of the mobile phone itself conforms to our daily usage habits, and now the systems at home and abroad are gradually converging. In terms of the objective intelligibility of the mobile phone, it is easy to be accepted and understood. Therefore, although the mobile phone is complicated, it does not cause confusion.

Your room is very cluttered, but only you can discover the hidden object placement rules, so you have the ability to understand subjectively, so you can easily find the location of objects, but it is incomprehensible to your family.

At first glance, we may feel dazzled, but many people still like to visit Taobao; there is no doubt that these products are complex from a functional perspective, but it is almost difficult to change because the products have commercial goals.

From a design perspective, although there are many functions, it has a clear layout, information alignment, and content organization; even if it is two different products, but the basic framework is similar, we still know how to use it, even basically the App of the major domestic e-commerce platform The design is not much different in the eyes of ordinary users.

All in all, although these products are complicated, they are not confusing and confusing, and most users will not feel annoying.

3. About simplicity

People like simplicity, not because they like functional simplicity, but because they like a simple and efficient user experience.

Occam’s razor law has a classic saying: “If it’s not necessary, don’t increase the entity”; it should be noted that Occam’s razor law cannot be simply understood as minimalism. The “necessity” is emphasized here to satisfy the user’s basic Demand without additional information interference.

For design, the difficulty lies in judging what is “necessary” and what is “entity”:

  • “Necessary” can be understood as: functional integrity, comprehensibility, and ease of use.
  • “Entity” can be understood as: content information, fonts, colors, typesetting, interactive controls, operating methods, operating procedures, etc.
  • Functionality: Meet the essential needs of users’ search.
  • Comprehensibility: A clear and easy-to-understand search box without unnecessary information interference; the bottom bar is the entry for other functions, which is clearly distinguished from the search box in design.
  • Ease of use: The search box is in the center, click to search.

In addition, there are almost no extra design elements. If you think the interface is too blank, you can change the wallpaper and set the navigation icon.

Daily products have different product positioning, business goals, and user groups. If a product itself is complex, what we need to do is to make the experience simpler, ranging from product frame design to small design details optimization.

4. How to make it simple

How can we make the experience of complex things easier through design?

“Simplicity First” mentioned four strategies of deletion, organization, hiding, and transfer.

  • Delete: The most obvious way to simplify the design; focus on the realization of core functions and delete unnecessary functions, processes, options, text, etc.
  • Organization: The quickest way to simplify design; organize information through classification and other methods, but you need to pay attention to casual organization will not make users’ attention, only dazzling them.
  • Hidden: A low-cost solution; in order not to cause unnecessary trouble for users, we must carefully weigh which functions to hide.
  • Transfer: This strategy is more like a “cheat”, transferring the right functions to the right devices; the secret to designing a simple experience is to put the right functions on the right platform or the right system components.

For specific strategies, you can read the original book, whose content is condensed to resemble the subject of this book.

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