A note to designers: less is more.
By Amrit Judge (Founder, startupchick.com)
If you’ve dabbled in user experience & user interface design at all, you know that simplicity is a word you’ll hear a lot of. Many successful companies and apps attribute their success to the simplicity in their user designs and interfaces.
One of my favorite definitions of simplicity comes from 52 Weeks of UX:
“…just enough for comprehension and the ability to pursue and complete our goals.”
It forces you to be creative.
Attaining simplicity is a very hard process. Whenever someone share with me an app or a startup she is working on, my advice is usually: make a list of your features, cut that list in half, and cut it in half again. Keep only what is crucial to problem you’re solving. Create three functions that work exceptionally well versus fifteen that work fine and end up distracting or confusing the user. Think about the time you’ve been overwhelmed with a product or a website or a retailer; I would not want my users experiencing that overwhelmed feeling ever.
It allows users to focus on what’s important and what they’re there for.
Because you took the time to focus, your users will have a better experience. Users usually know why they’re visiting a website or using an app, so don’t let them down by distracting them from the task at hand. Be very clear and precise. Don’t mislabel or hide important features. A good way to make sure you’re on the right track is to show your site or product off, even if it’s unfinished. Get as many opinions from different age-groups as possible.
It’s visually appealing.
Simplicity doesn’t have to be boring. Whether it’s a website or a mobile app, there’s room to simplify beautifully. The minimalistic approach allows for faster website loading (think Google), and is easier to design and develop. Since you’re not dealing with crazy amounts of graphics, you begin to place emphasis and thought on things like white space, type-faces and the placement of buttons and links.
Simplicity is refreshing. So don’t be afraid to show it off, especially on your virtual portfolios. If you’re not actively browsing dribbble, you’re missing out. It’s like Pinterest for designers and is a wonderful source for inspiration. If you’re in an iOS state of mind, browsing TapFame’s Design Flow page is also very helpful. As the name suggests, it takes you back to the basics: how the app functions, flows and how design can effect that experience.
At the end of the day, the goal is to create something people love. It’s okay to start small and be focused. Establish the core before adding more.