Simplicity: The Next Competitive Battleground


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Simplicity: The Next Competitive Battleground

  1. 1. 1© Modus Associates, LLC www.modusassociates.comSimplicity: The Next CompetitiveBattlegroundConsumers crave it. The most successful brands have it. You probably needmore of it. We’re talking about simplicity in your online customer experiences.Always a virtue, simplicity is fast becoming a necessity in our increasinglymobile, multi-screen and distracted world. Let’s take a look at the numbers:• Tablet PCs will outsell desktop PCs next year and laptop PCs by 2016[Source: Microsoft and DisplaySearch]• Mobile internet usage is projected to overtake desktop internet usage in2013 [Source: Gartner]• 71% of mobile browsers expect web pages to load almost as quickly orfaster than web pages on their desktop computers [Source: Gomez]• 90% of all US media consumption now takes place across a combination of phone, tablet, computer and TVscreens [Source: Google]Dead or simpleThe business value of simplicity has long been understood. Fewer choices, shorter paths and simplermessaging lead to higher conversion rates in study after study. Examples of simplicity’s triumph are all aroundus: in personal finance; Apple in electronics; Google in search. Yet simplicity has remained an elusiveideal for most organizations.Now the rise of mobile is forcing our hands and changing the way we design websites and software forever.Mobile and desktop design standards are converging toward a more streamlined aesthetic. HTML and apps arebecoming indistinguishable. In late 2012 USA Today pushed the envelope with a new website that looks and actslike an iPad app.Simplicity has becomethe new competitivebattleground as wetransition to a moremobile, multi-screenand distracted world.”“”MODUS ASSOCIATES : POINT OF VIEW
  2. 2. 2© Modus Associates, LLC www.modusassociates.com4 ways to a simpler youIf your organization is struggling to achieve simplicity, here are some simple techniques that can help you cutthrough the clutter:Start with your site traffic.A look at your site traffic is probably the best and fastest way to understand what your customers most valueand what they can do without. Which of your content and features are getting the most attention? Which arebeing ignored? What are the top user paths? Which content is searched for the most? You’ll likely find that the80/20 rule – where a small sub-section of your content sees the majority of activity – applies.Try mobile first.The emerging practice of “mobile first,” whereby companies organize their business around mobile as theprimary channel, is gaining in prominence (Google declared itself a mobile-first company in 2010). Whateveryou think of mobile-first as a business practice, trying it out as an experiment can help you boil down yourofferings to their most bare and useful essence.Get more objective.Designers, developers and even executives can frequently get too close to their online initiatives. Install adecision-maker who knows your business and customers well, but isn’t involved in the day-to-day of design anddevelopment. That person will have the objectivity to ask hard questions and – where necessary – slaughter thesacred cows.Test, test and test.There’s nothing like the feedback of real users to break your internal logjams and provide clarity aboutwhat’s valuable to them. If budget or timeline are concerns, testing informally with friends and family canstill produce valuable insights. And it’s better than no testing at all.It’s time to get ruthlessRuthlessly simple, that is. We’re moving quickly from a world where we stuffed in all the features we could, to onewhere we must strip away everything we can. The future belongs to the brands that can specialize, synthesize andconsolidate for a faster-moving and more distracted audience. Only the most disciplined will prevail.#1#2#3#4
  3. 3. 3© Modus Associates, LLC This article originally appeared in UX Magazine.About Modus AssociatesModus Associates is a digital innovation consultancy founded to help global brands and visionary start-ups more fully harness thebusiness potential of the digital age, where customers rule, connectivity is everywhere, and creating value for profit and social impact isthe name of the game. Clients include Comcast, NYSE Euronext, Cleveland Clinic, Coldwell Banker, NBC Universal, U.S. Architect of theCapitol and ADP, Inc.Modus Associates37 West 20th Street, Suite 304New York, NY 10011Tel: 212-255-6768Fax: