Simplicity, It’s Complicated


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

Your smart phone would be simpler if it didn’t have a camera. But it would also be a lot less useful. A paint can is a sublimely simple way to store paint. But it’s a dreadful way to interact with paint: It’s hard to open, hard to close, and guaranteed to make a mess every time you pour it.

Simplicity is an obvious virtue, but it is not the ultimate virtue. Sure, the fewer clicks, taps, steps, hurdles, fields, distractions, and doodads in a UI, the better. We UX designers have a whole bag of tricks for simplifying things—consolidating here, eliminating there, shrinking this, submerging that—and 19 times out of 20, the simpler approach is the better approach. Continue reading