Si on

                                         N e a zo
                                         m A

                   ...
Why simplicity?


@gilescolborne
Many people have
the Suspicion that
technology is out
to get us.

Making technology
simpler seems like
an obvious way to
s...
Ten years ago, this
                 was the standard
                 for how we ought
                 to access the
   ...
Today, a simpler
                 alternative
                 dominates the web.


@gilescolborne
The first iteration
                 of zune was poorly
                 received.



@gilescolborne
Zune 1.0 vs Zune 2.0



                                        The second
                                        iterati...
there are 113 links
on a page when all
I want to know is
‘will it rain in
Ithaca?’

this seems over-      113
complicated....
...especially when
                 you compare it to
                 desktop widgets
                 like this, which t...
my Swiss army
knife, has all these
features which are
supposed to be
useful. But I hardly
ever use it...




  @gilescolbo...
...Instead, I’m more
                  likely to pick up a
                 screwdriver to open a
                 Can of ...
People are
    crying out for less

@gilescolborne
One reason we’re
drawn to what’s
‘simple’ is that
we’re trying to get
stuff done faster.




   @gilescolborne
           ...
We’re also trying
                 to fit more in.

                 Multi-tasking is
                 easier when you
   ...
No one wants to
read the manual.

We want something
simple we can pick
up and use right
away.




   @gilescolborne
      ...
And we’re using
                 technology in
                 safety critical
                 environments.

          ...
We used to go to
                 these guys when we
                 wanted to get our
                 hands on
        ...
...Nowadays, we’re
                 buying and using
                 technology as
                 consumers.

         ...
Simplicity has
                 become a goal of
                 our culture.

                  Alain de Botton
        ...
So the 18th century
                 was a time of
                 revolution, social
                 upheaval and
     ...
...And the
                 architecture of
                 that period turned
                 to ancient values
       ...
Fast forward a
                 hundred years to
                 the industrial
                 revolution.

           ...
...Yet the Victorians
                 aspired to rustic
                 architecture and
                 the medieval
 ...
SO to our age of
                 confusing moral
                 relativism and
                 globalisation.

       ...
And in our
                 confusing world
                 we aspire to that
                 which is minimalist,
     ...
Less is more
Mies Van Der Rohe




  So for practical,
  emotional and
  cultural reasons
  we crave simplicity.

  For pe...
Simplicity
is not the answer
Donald Norman




 Unfortunately, for
 people looking for
 a panacea,
 simplicity isn’t the
 ...
Usability
                                     What consider to
                                     be usable varies
    ...
Business system Old    school business
                                      systems tend to be
                          ...
Many Call centres
                   Call centre     are focussed on
                                   efficiency.

     ...
Consumer web site
Consumer web sites
need to be
effective and
Satisfying to use.
But consumers are
poor at judging
efficie...
Simplicity

                                   If you’re designing
                                   something simple
   ...
Simplicity ≠ Usability
                 So simplicity is not
                 the same as
                 usability. It’s...
But simplicity still
                 matters.

                 Mobile is a good
                 example of an area
    ...
Simplicity
is not the answer
  necessarily
Donald Norman




  So it’s not the
  only route to
  usability.

 But people w...
If you want to
                 design simple
                 things you’ll find
                 yourself directed
     ...
oe try
                 P
                           It’s not laws, it’s
                           poetry. It works
     ...
I don’t want to
                 hope that the hand
                 of god touches my
                 work.

           ...
Here’s an exercise
                 we try with new
                 recruits.

                 We take something
       ...
Simplify this!


@gilescolborne
Play
Pause
Stop
Rewind to beginning
Forward to end
Rewind
Slow rewind
Frame by frame rewind
Fast forward
Slow forward
Fram...
Play
Pause
Stop
Rewind to beginning
Forward to end
Rewind
Slow rewind
Frame by frame rewind
Fast forward
Slow forward
Fram...
I’ve seen some
                 wonderful, creative
                 solutions to this
                 problem.

        ...
1. Remove features

Get rid of some of
those buttons that
you never seem to
use.




   @gilescolborne
2. Hide features

Put some of the
features behind a
hatch where they
won’t get in the
way all the time.




              ...
3. Group features

Move the important
stuff so that it’s
easier to find and
put everything in
logical groups.




   @gile...
4. Displace features

                 For instance, Move
                 the features to an
                 on-screen m...
Sometimes people
think instructions
will make things
easier.

 Adding more
instructions
doesn’t improve
simplicity. it jus...
1. Remove features
    2. Group features
    3. Hide features
    4. Displace features

@gilescolborne
It’s not a great
answer for our DVD
remote. If you
remove a feature,
someone will care.

And you create
problems for
yours...
...you have to make
sure you market
this ‘basic’ DVD
player so
customers know
what they’re
buying.

 And you have to
 have...
removing features
Can also make
things feel more
complex.

This is the elevator
in the Tokyo apple
store. You can’t
choose...
Logic says ‘this is a
simpler design’.

But people who’ve
used it say it FEELS
complex. They don’t
like to be out of
contr...
...Just like people
who use wizards
don’t like the
feeling of being on
a conveyor belt
with no real
control.




   @giles...
‘Choose your own
adventure’ gives
the same limited
control.

But we understand
it because it has a
story to hold it
all to...
Wizards Hide the
story of what’s
really going on
from the user.

They make it hard
for the user to
build a mental
model. t...
Simplicity
is not the answer
Donald Norman




                     Told you so

Getting rid of
features is hard.
And it d...
Perfection is achieved
not when there is nothing
more to add
but when there is
nothing more to take away
Antoine de Saint ...
Everything should be
as simple as possible -
but no simpler
Albert Einstein




how do we know
when we’ve made
something a...
Make the irreducible basic
elements as simple and as
few as possible without
having to surrender the
adequate representati...
Make the irreducible basic
elements as simple and as
few as possible without
having to surrender the
adequate representati...
Make the irreducible basic
elements as simple and as
few as possible without
having to surrender the
adequate representati...
It’s about what’s core


@gilescolborne
A few years ago I
 was asked to re-
design an online
bank for a company
called Goldfish.
They wanted it to
match their bra...
On one screen they
had a date
selection control.
This looks simple,
doesn’t it?




       Apr           2009   GO




  @...
What is minimal?
                            GO




                                    But the control
                  ...
You could select a
date in the future.

And You’d see an
error message Saying
how stupid you were.

Not Friendly, simple
o...
You could select
dates from over a
year ago.

But the bank only
kept statements for
a year.

Again: Not friendly,
simple o...
We asked ourselves
‘what’s really going
on here?’.

Users had 12 bank
statements to
choose from.

So We replaced it
with t...
What is minimal?
                 Jun 2009




                                Interestingly,
                            ...
Because I design user
experiences, I’m talking
about interactions. Do
simple user experiences
require simple
aesthetics, t...
This bow is
Aesthetically
minimalist.

All other
movement is
eliminated,
accentuating the
bow. It’s
undeniably ‘Core’.



...
But imagine a
courtier of the sun
king bowing - all
twirling hands and
bending knee.

It’s still
undeniably a bow.
The orn...
What makes it work
is all that extra
stuff is aligned
with the idea of
bowing.

It’s purpose is to
emphasise, not
distract...
What matters isn’t
minimalism, it’s that
Aesthetics and
experience are
aligned with the
core. This helps us
stay focussed ...
Experience the proposition (game)
Recently, I was
asked to review a
user experience.

 a firm wanted to
 get users to
 pla...
Experience the proposition (game)


                                            Unfortunately,
Did you get a              ...
Experience the proposition (game)

                                           To encourage
                               ...
Experience the proposition (game)


                                          Next, the company
                          ...
Experience the proposition (game)
                                              The user’s tasks
                         ...
Our advice was,      Experience the proposition (game)
once the user
had completed
the game, ask him          Compare your...
Experience the proposition (game)
Then, ask him to
challenge a
friend to beat
                           Compare your
His ...
Now we have some
rules to help us
‘eliminate what is
unnecessary’.



  Thoughtful reduction
   is about ‘core’ and
      ...
What can we learn
from our other
strategies for
simplicity?


      1. Remove features
      2. Hide features
      3. Gro...
There are a couple
of ways to hide
features. One is to
use a hatch or
slider...




                      OP
             ...
Another is to use a
 touch screen
 controller, like
 this one.

However, a DVD
player costs $40
and a normal DVD
remote co...
Even hatches like
this are
problematic,
because they tend
to break off and
they’re more
complex to
manufacture.

we’re sim...
Often we have
                  several audiences -
                  mainstreamers who
                 want something
  ...
When you’re
                 creating a website
                 to sell, say,
                 laptops, if you
          ...
But if you show the
                 mainstreamers all
                 the specs they
                 discover that they...
If you check the
                 ‘features’ of a
                 MacBook on Apple’s
                 website, you get a
...
Apple gives experts
                 a link that will
                 appeal specifically
                 to them, but n...
When they click on
                  it, they find a
                  wealth of technical
                  detail includ...
Hide things where
people will find them

@gilescolborne
Our third strategy
                     is to chunk things

    1. Remove features
                     together in groups...
We can make the
play button bigger.
Move it to the top.
shade some
buttons so that
they stand out
more.




   @gilescolbo...
This strategy is the
cheapest (and so
probably the best
for our $1 DVD
remote control).

To choose a good
layout, it helps...
If you were to
                                  memorise these
                                  numbers, you’d
         ...
Here are the same
                   numbers, but
                   neatly arranged.
                   There’s nothing t...
All we’ve done is
                   regularised the
                   layout, and relied
                   on a pattern...
Here’s another
                 example - a form
                 for searching for
                 train times.

       ...
Here’s our
                 redesign.

                 By grouping the
                 fields, using a
                 ...
You’ll find more
                 good advice on
                 strategies for
                 simplifying through
    ...
Sometimes you need to
                                       add
                 features to make somet
                 ...
There are many
                 problems with
                 oyster cards, but
                 one is that you
        ...
Hong Kong’s
                  octopus card is
                 similar - but it does
                 more. You can use it...
OUr last strategy
                  Opens some
                  interesting
    1. Remove features
                  poss...
We’ve ended up with
                 a simpler
                 controller - but
                 we’ve displaced
        ...
As a solution for
                 the DVD remote, it’s
                 not perfect - you
                 need to spend ...
But it’s elegant.
                 And some people
                 have decided it’s
                 the right way to
  ...
But there’s
                 somewhere else we
                 can displace
                 complexity - and
           ...
About ten years
                                   ago, I had to
           STRATFORD-UPON-AVON     design a travel
      ...
STRATFORD-UPON-AVON


                        OXFORD


                                         LONDON
   BATH


    The R...
My Travel Plan

                                                  LOCATION ACTIVITY        TIME
                STRATFORD-...
My Travel Plan

                                                  LOCATION ACTIVITY        TIME
                STRATFORD-...
My Travel Plan
                                                         When we tried it
                                 ...
I let users create
folders, name them
as they pleased,
and put whatever         Tuesday
they wanted into
the folders.

The...
Because the
                 tools were
                 simple, they
                 could see how to
                 a...
This is the most
satisfying form
of simplicity.

 Creating
 something simple
like twitter that
people use in
unexpected an...
So we have four
                     strategies that
                     work in different
                     ways.

  ...
Sometimes we
                   can’t remove
                   features.

                   Sometimes we
    1. Remove f...
Hiding features
                     works - but we
                     have to figure
                     out where to ...
Grouping
                     features works -
                     if the user has
                     complex

    1. R...
And when you
                    displace
                    features, you
                    push complexity

    1. Re...
I wanted to be
                  able to state
                  some laws of
                  simplicity as well
       ...
The first law of simplicity:

Complexity is never eliminated,
merely reduced and displaced
                  my first law i...
The second law of simplicity:

  Simplicity is an experience
it happens in the user’s head
                 My second is t...
Focus on these


•   What is core
•   Make your experience compact
•   Align the experience to what’s core
•   Rely on exi...
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Secrets of Simplicity: rules for being simple and usable (Giles Colborne)

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Giles Colborne's presentation discusses strategies for simplifying designs. It identifies two new rules for simplicity.

It also looks at why simplicity has become so important in interaction design, whether simplicity and usability are the same thing and exposes some myths about simplicity.

It's a version of a highly-rated talk from the Usability Professionals' Association (UPA) conference in Portland in June 2009.

I've added some 'Post-It' notes so it all makes sense!

UPDATED 18 June 2009: Fixed some of the builds and fonts to improve the appearance.

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Transcript of "Secrets of Simplicity: rules for being simple and usable (Giles Colborne)"

  1. 1. Si on N e a zo m A ew n n. pl ma bo U om ok sa d c ! ble Secrets of simplicity Giles Colborne cxpartners @gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/jordoncooper/2854553375/
  2. 2. Why simplicity? @gilescolborne
  3. 3. Many people have the Suspicion that technology is out to get us. Making technology simpler seems like an obvious way to save ourselves. @gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/24017046@N05/2415666205/
  4. 4. Ten years ago, this was the standard for how we ought to access the internet. @gilescolborne
  5. 5. Today, a simpler alternative dominates the web. @gilescolborne
  6. 6. The first iteration of zune was poorly received. @gilescolborne
  7. 7. Zune 1.0 vs Zune 2.0 The second iteration had fewer features... ...And got better reviews. @gilescolborne
  8. 8. there are 113 links on a page when all I want to know is ‘will it rain in Ithaca?’ this seems over- 113 complicated. @gilescolborne
  9. 9. ...especially when you compare it to desktop widgets like this, which tell you the weather without the clutter. @gilescolborne
  10. 10. my Swiss army knife, has all these features which are supposed to be useful. But I hardly ever use it... @gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/captainammonite/3316277831/
  11. 11. ...Instead, I’m more likely to pick up a screwdriver to open a Can of paint, stir the paint, gouge a hole in something, reach a coin that’s stuck behind the fridge... or even tighten a screw. @gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/-po/302360126/
  12. 12. People are crying out for less @gilescolborne
  13. 13. One reason we’re drawn to what’s ‘simple’ is that we’re trying to get stuff done faster. @gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/wwarby/3296379139/
  14. 14. We’re also trying to fit more in. Multi-tasking is easier when you keep the tasks simple. @gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/peninah/2468918040/
  15. 15. No one wants to read the manual. We want something simple we can pick up and use right away. @gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/e-coli/419976117/
  16. 16. And we’re using technology in safety critical environments. complexity can be a fatal distraction. @gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/cl191/2965160625/
  17. 17. We used to go to these guys when we wanted to get our hands on technology... @gilescolborne
  18. 18. ...Nowadays, we’re buying and using technology as consumers. So we expect simple, usable consumer devices. @gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/pingping/61487601/
  19. 19. Simplicity has become a goal of our culture. Alain de Botton points out that cultures are drawn to create the things that are missing from their age and environment. @gilescolborne
  20. 20. So the 18th century was a time of revolution, social upheaval and disruption to the old order... @gilescolborne
  21. 21. ...And the architecture of that period turned to ancient values and classical order. @gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/merry_meet/3468018982/
  22. 22. Fast forward a hundred years to the industrial revolution. people were reduced to components in factories... @gilescolborne
  23. 23. ...Yet the Victorians aspired to rustic architecture and the medieval artisanship of the Arts and Crafts movement. @gilescolborne
  24. 24. SO to our age of confusing moral relativism and globalisation. your life can be disrupted instantly at any time by a stranger on the other side of the world... @gilescolborne
  25. 25. And in our confusing world we aspire to that which is minimalist, pared down and simple. @gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/hubmedia/2374756836/
  26. 26. Less is more Mies Van Der Rohe So for practical, emotional and cultural reasons we crave simplicity. For people working in usability, it can seem like usability and simplicity are identical. @gilescolborne
  27. 27. Simplicity is not the answer Donald Norman Unfortunately, for people looking for a panacea, simplicity isn’t the answer to all your usability problems. @gilescolborne
  28. 28. Usability What consider to be usable varies depending on the context. the ISO definition of usability is efficiency, effectiveness and satisfaction Efficiency Effectiveness Satisfaction ISO 9241-11 @gilescolborne
  29. 29. Business system Old school business systems tend to be imposed on users. Businesses want accountancy systems to be effective and efficient. user Satisfaction is nice but not top priority. Efficiency Effectiveness Satisfaction @gilescolborne
  30. 30. Many Call centres Call centre are focussed on efficiency. Their primary measure of usability is: how many calls can an operator get through in an hour? Efficiency Effectiveness Satisfaction @gilescolborne
  31. 31. Consumer web site Consumer web sites need to be effective and Satisfying to use. But consumers are poor at judging efficiency. Efficiency Effectiveness Satisfaction @gilescolborne
  32. 32. Simplicity If you’re designing something simple for consumers, you have to hit high scores all three criteria. Ouch. Efficiency Effectiveness Satisfaction @gilescolborne
  33. 33. Simplicity ≠ Usability So simplicity is not the same as usability. It’s just one case, and it may not always be the right strategy. @gilescolborne
  34. 34. But simplicity still matters. Mobile is a good example of an area where simplicity is Crucial. @gilescolborne
  35. 35. Simplicity is not the answer necessarily Donald Norman So it’s not the only route to usability. But people want and often need simplicity. @gilescolborne
  36. 36. If you want to design simple things you’ll find yourself directed to this book. It’s good. But the advice inside is not very clear. @gilescolborne
  37. 37. oe try P It’s not laws, it’s poetry. It works best if you let it wash over you. we need some Solid laws and clear strategies for simplicity. @gilescolborne
  38. 38. I don’t want to hope that the hand of god touches my work. I want to know that I can make something simpler. @gilescolborne
  39. 39. Here’s an exercise we try with new recruits. We take something that seems unnecessarily complex and ask them to... @gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/redjar/136216608/
  40. 40. Simplify this! @gilescolborne
  41. 41. Play Pause Stop Rewind to beginning Forward to end Rewind Slow rewind Frame by frame rewind Fast forward Slow forward Frame by frame forward Cursor up / down / left / right Enter Return / back Menu (show the on-disc navigation screen or audio disc tracks) Top menu (show the on-disc navigation screen) Display (show options for this DVD) Eject TV on / off DVD on /off Numerical keypad Clear Time / Text Repeat (change repeat play settings) Picture navi (search by scene) Audio mode (language / audio format) Subtitles Camera angle Virtual surround sound Picture mode @gilescolborne Volume + / -
  42. 42. Play Pause Stop Rewind to beginning Forward to end Rewind Slow rewind Frame by frame rewind Fast forward Slow forward Frame by frame forward Cursor up / down / left / right Enter Return / back Menu (show the on-disc navigation screen or audio disc tracks) Top menu (show the on-disc navigation screen) Display (show options for this DVD) Eject So how would you TV on / off DVD on /off make a DVD remote Numerical keypad control simpler? Clear Time / Text Repeat (change repeat play settings) Stop the Picture navi (search by scene) UP Audio mode (language / audio format) presentation and Subtitles A Camera angle try it now. Virtual surround sound Picture mode @gilescolborne Volume + / -
  43. 43. I’ve seen some wonderful, creative solutions to this problem. They fall into four categories... The four solutions @gilescolborne
  44. 44. 1. Remove features Get rid of some of those buttons that you never seem to use. @gilescolborne
  45. 45. 2. Hide features Put some of the features behind a hatch where they won’t get in the way all the time. OP EN @gilescolborne
  46. 46. 3. Group features Move the important stuff so that it’s easier to find and put everything in logical groups. @gilescolborne
  47. 47. 4. Displace features For instance, Move the features to an on-screen menu on the TV set. @gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/ckelly/185726479/
  48. 48. Sometimes people think instructions will make things easier. Adding more instructions doesn’t improve simplicity. it just gives everyone an excuse to stop trying to improve things. @gilescolborne
  49. 49. 1. Remove features 2. Group features 3. Hide features 4. Displace features @gilescolborne
  50. 50. It’s not a great answer for our DVD remote. If you remove a feature, someone will care. And you create problems for yourself elsewhere... @gilescolborne
  51. 51. ...you have to make sure you market this ‘basic’ DVD player so customers know what they’re buying. And you have to have a customer support programme for all those people who didn’t realise that one day, they’d need the subtitles button. @gilescolborne
  52. 52. removing features Can also make things feel more complex. This is the elevator in the Tokyo apple store. You can’t choose where to go. It just shuttles from floor to floor. @gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/nrvica/22840347/
  53. 53. Logic says ‘this is a simpler design’. But people who’ve used it say it FEELS complex. They don’t like to be out of control... @gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/nrvica/22840347/
  54. 54. ...Just like people who use wizards don’t like the feeling of being on a conveyor belt with no real control. @gilescolborne
  55. 55. ‘Choose your own adventure’ gives the same limited control. But we understand it because it has a story to hold it all together. @gilescolborne
  56. 56. Wizards Hide the story of what’s really going on from the user. They make it hard for the user to build a mental model. the user never progresses past the Novice stage. @gilescolborne
  57. 57. Simplicity is not the answer Donald Norman Told you so Getting rid of features is hard. And it doesn’t always work as well as we’d hope. @gilescolborne
  58. 58. Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add but when there is nothing more to take away Antoine de Saint Exupery But it’s an attractive solution. And it can work. The question is - how do you know what to take away? @gilescolborne
  59. 59. Everything should be as simple as possible - but no simpler Albert Einstein how do we know when we’ve made something as ‘simple as possible’? @gilescolborne
  60. 60. Make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience Albert Einstein This is what Einstein Really said. It’s more complex. But it’s more helpful. @gilescolborne
  61. 61. Make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience Albert Einstein First, We’ve got to understand what’s at the core of the experience... @gilescolborne
  62. 62. Make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience Albert Einstein ...Then we’ve got to make sure we don’t disrupt that. @gilescolborne
  63. 63. It’s about what’s core @gilescolborne
  64. 64. A few years ago I was asked to re- design an online bank for a company called Goldfish. They wanted it to match their brand values: friendly, Approachable and simple. @gilescolborne 64
  65. 65. On one screen they had a date selection control. This looks simple, doesn’t it? Apr 2009 GO @gilescolborne 65
  66. 66. What is minimal? GO But the control was for selecting your bank statement. And it turned out to be too complex. @gilescolborne 66
  67. 67. You could select a date in the future. And You’d see an error message Saying how stupid you were. Not Friendly, simple or approachable behaviour Dec 2009 GO @gilescolborne 67
  68. 68. You could select dates from over a year ago. But the bank only kept statements for a year. Again: Not friendly, simple or approachable. Feb 2008 GO @gilescolborne 68
  69. 69. We asked ourselves ‘what’s really going on here?’. Users had 12 bank statements to choose from. So We replaced it with this. Which is much simpler. Apr 2009 Mar 2009 Feb 2009 Jan 2009 Dec 2008 Nov 2008 @gilescolborne 69
  70. 70. What is minimal? Jun 2009 Interestingly, making things simpler for the user required more complex programming. @gilescolborne 70
  71. 71. Because I design user experiences, I’m talking about interactions. Do simple user experiences require simple aesthetics, too? Another look at aesthetics @gilescolborne
  72. 72. This bow is Aesthetically minimalist. All other movement is eliminated, accentuating the bow. It’s undeniably ‘Core’. @gilescolborne
  73. 73. But imagine a courtier of the sun king bowing - all twirling hands and bending knee. It’s still undeniably a bow. The ornamentation Draws attention to the core Bow. @gilescolborne
  74. 74. What makes it work is all that extra stuff is aligned with the idea of bowing. It’s purpose is to emphasise, not distract. @gilescolborne
  75. 75. What matters isn’t minimalism, it’s that Aesthetics and experience are aligned with the core. This helps us stay focussed and keeps things simple. It’s about alignment @gilescolborne
  76. 76. Experience the proposition (game) Recently, I was asked to review a user experience. a firm wanted to get users to play a game based on their marketing Sign up to the programme, then programme sign up to a mailing list and get their friends to join in. Grow the audience @gilescolborne
  77. 77. Experience the proposition (game) Unfortunately, Did you get a the first high enough problem was, if score? you didn’t get a high enough score on the Sign up to the game, you programme couldn’t continue. Grow the audience @gilescolborne
  78. 78. Experience the proposition (game) To encourage them to keep Did you get a trying and sign high enough up, the company score? needed to offer a huge prize - a car. Sign up to the Win a car! programme Grow the audience @gilescolborne
  79. 79. Experience the proposition (game) Next, the company asked users to Did you get a invite their high enough friends to enter. score? So ask yourself: Sign up to the ‘Would I like my Win a car! programme friend to win a car?’ Absolutely! And ‘Would I like my friend to get the car that I’m trying to win?’ Grow the audience Sadly, no. @gilescolborne
  80. 80. Experience the proposition (game) The user’s tasks weren’t aligned to the company’s goals. Did you get a high enough The experience score? felt complex and contrived. Sign up to the it didn’t work. Win a car! programme Leave Grow the audience @gilescolborne
  81. 81. Our advice was, Experience the proposition (game) once the user had completed the game, ask him Compare your to sign up and score post his score on an online scoreboard. Sign up to the programme This aligned with the competitive nature of the game. Grow the audience @gilescolborne
  82. 82. Experience the proposition (game) Then, ask him to challenge a friend to beat Compare your His score. score (We didn’t need to give away a car to get Sign up to the people to invite programme friends.) Simplifying the Compare with experience was your friends about aligning users’ goals and tasks. Grow the audience @gilescolborne
  83. 83. Now we have some rules to help us ‘eliminate what is unnecessary’. Thoughtful reduction is about ‘core’ and ‘alignment’ @gilescolborne
  84. 84. What can we learn from our other strategies for simplicity? 1. Remove features 2. Hide features 3. Group features 4. Displace features @gilescolborne
  85. 85. There are a couple of ways to hide features. One is to use a hatch or slider... OP EN @gilescolborne
  86. 86. Another is to use a touch screen controller, like this one. However, a DVD player costs $40 and a normal DVD remote costs less than $1 to make. This touch screen would end up costing more than the DVD player. So it’s not a solution for The DVD problem. @gilescolborne
  87. 87. Even hatches like this are problematic, because they tend to break off and they’re more complex to manufacture. we’re simplifying by increasing complexity. Nevertheless, Hiding features can be a good strategy. @gilescolborne
  88. 88. Often we have several audiences - mainstreamers who want something basic, and experts who want more info or features or both. @gilescolborne
  89. 89. When you’re creating a website to sell, say, laptops, if you don’t give all the specs the experts hate it. And they tell the mainstreamers that those laptops are for babies. @gilescolborne
  90. 90. But if you show the mainstreamers all the specs they discover that they don’t know what an L2 Cache is. The site is telling them they’re not qualified to own such a complex laptop. @gilescolborne
  91. 91. If you check the ‘features’ of a MacBook on Apple’s website, you get a magazine style page with basic info for mainstreamers. @gilescolborne
  92. 92. Apple gives experts a link that will appeal specifically to them, but not the mainstreamers. @gilescolborne
  93. 93. When they click on it, they find a wealth of technical detail including specs, bullet points and data tables. They’re happy. but the mainstreamers never have to know about this stuff. @gilescolborne
  94. 94. Hide things where people will find them @gilescolborne
  95. 95. Our third strategy is to chunk things 1. Remove features together in groups which are easier to take in. 2. Hide features 3. Group features 4. Displace features @gilescolborne
  96. 96. We can make the play button bigger. Move it to the top. shade some buttons so that they stand out more. @gilescolborne
  97. 97. This strategy is the cheapest (and so probably the best for our $1 DVD remote control). To choose a good layout, it helps to know how the user thinks. @gilescolborne
  98. 98. If you were to memorise these numbers, you’d have a hard time. in a week, chances are you’d have forgotten them. 9 64 3 7 2 8 1 5 @gilescolborne 98
  99. 99. Here are the same numbers, but neatly arranged. There’s nothing to distract you. you’ll remember this in a week’s time, no problem. 123456789 @gilescolborne 99
  100. 100. All we’ve done is regularised the layout, and relied on a pattern that was already in your head. But it makes a huge difference. 123456789 @gilescolborne 100
  101. 101. Here’s another example - a form for searching for train times. This works just fine in user testing, but people hesitate over it. @gilescolborne 101
  102. 102. Here’s our redesign. By grouping the fields, using a regular grid and using a little white space instead of a lot of shading, we made it much simpler to use @gilescolborne 102
  103. 103. You’ll find more good advice on strategies for simplifying through grouping in this book. @gilescolborne 103
  104. 104. Sometimes you need to add features to make somet hing simpler. By adding features you can complete a group that us ers expect. This is a pre-paid travel card that you can use on London transport. @gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/drpritch/206995378/
  105. 105. There are many problems with oyster cards, but one is that you can’t use them all the time. @gilescolborne 105 http://www.flickr.com/photos/kasperweibel/210261931/
  106. 106. Hong Kong’s octopus card is similar - but it does more. You can use it in more places - including in shops and vending machines at train and bus stations. It does more and that feels simpler because it fits with the users’ mental model of ‘money I use when travelling’. @gilescolborne 106 http://www.flickr.com/photos/ja-ae/1345116562/
  107. 107. OUr last strategy Opens some interesting 1. Remove features possibilities... 2. Hide features 3. Group features 4. Displace features @gilescolborne
  108. 108. We’ve ended up with a simpler controller - but we’ve displaced features and complexity to an on screen menu. @gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/ckelly/185726479/
  109. 109. As a solution for the DVD remote, it’s not perfect - you need to spend a lot of time and money getting those menus right. @gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/ckelly/185726479/
  110. 110. But it’s elegant. And some people have decided it’s the right way to go. @gilescolborne
  111. 111. But there’s somewhere else we can displace complexity - and that is into the user’s head. Take a complex task like planning travel. How would you make it simpler? @gilescolborne
  112. 112. About ten years ago, I had to STRATFORD-UPON-AVON design a travel planner. OXFORD I thought about LONDON BATH what was core. I decided that Travel is about managing your movements in space and time. So I began with a map. @gilescolborne
  113. 113. STRATFORD-UPON-AVON OXFORD LONDON BATH The Roman Baths Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Morbi commodo, ipsum sed pharetra gravida, orci magna rhoncus neque, id pulvinar odio lorem non turpis. I let people inspect Mon-Fri 0900-1830 (includes Bank Holidays) Sat-Sun 0900-1730 locations on the Christmas: Closed map and see how £10 Adults, £5 Children / Student / Over 65 long it would take Allow 1 hour minimum Add this to visit them. @gilescolborne
  114. 114. My Travel Plan LOCATION ACTIVITY TIME STRATFORD-UPON-AVON Excelsior Bath N/A Hotel OXFORD The Roman Bath 0930-1030 Baths LONDON Train to BATH Bath 1042-1153 Oxford The King’s The Roman Baths Oxford 1230-1400 Head Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Morbi commodo, ipsum sed pharetra gravida, orci magna rhoncus neque, Th Oxford ey Puntingd coul 1415-1515 add id pulvinar odio lorem non turpis. locations to an Ashmolean Mon-Fri 0900-1830 (includes Bank Holidays) Oxford 1530-1700 Sat-Sun 0900-1730 itinerary. They Museum Christmas: Closed could re-arrange Train to £10 Adults, £5 Children / Student / Over 65 Oxford 1722-1835 London them, save them, Allow 1 hour minimum Add this delete them. @gilescolborne
  115. 115. My Travel Plan LOCATION ACTIVITY TIME STRATFORD-UPON-AVON Excelsior Bath N/A Hotel OXFORD The Roman Bath 0930-1030 Baths LONDON Train to BATH Bath 1042-1153 Oxford The King’s The Roman Baths Oxford 1230-1400 Head Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Morbi commodo, ipsum sed They’d end up with a pharetra gravida, orci magna rhoncus neque, Oxford Punting 1415-1515 id pulvinar odio lorem non turpis. travel plan and Mon-Fri 0900-1830 (includes Bank Holidays) th Ashmolean Oxford ey’d be able to 1530-1700 Sat-Sun 0900-1730 Museum Christmas: Closed see if their Train to £10 Adults, £5 Children / Student / Over 65 it Oxfordinerary was London 1722-1835 Allow 1 hour minimum Add this possible in the time available. @gilescolborne
  116. 116. My Travel Plan When we tried it LOCATION ACTIVITY TIME STRATFORD-UPON-AVON out, Users hated it. Excelsior Bath N/A Hotel OXFORD Even though I’d The Roman Bath designed an 0930-1030 Baths open- LONDON ended task users Train to BATH Bath 1042-1153 felt too Oxford co The King’s 1230-1400 Oxford nstrained. The Roman Baths Head Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Morbi commodo, ipsum sed pharetra gravida, orci magna rhoncus neque, So Oxford I decided 1415-1515 Punting to give id pulvinar odio lorem non turpis. the users’ a Ashmolean Mon-Fri 0900-1830 (includes Bank Holidays) Oxford m si plMuseum ol 1530-1700 Sat-Sun 0900-1730 er to and Christmas: Closed let themto ndle the Train ha £10 Adults, £5 Children / Student / Over 65 Oxford 1722-1835 London complexity of Allow 1 hour minimum Add this managing their travel. @gilescolborne
  117. 117. I let users create folders, name them as they pleased, and put whatever Tuesday they wanted into the folders. The users thought of labels I’d never have imagined and Kid’s things used these simple tools to create complex plans. Travel discounts @gilescolborne
  118. 118. Because the tools were simple, they could see how to adapt them to suit their needs. @gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/-po/302360126/
  119. 119. This is the most satisfying form of simplicity. Creating something simple like twitter that people use in unexpected and imaginative ways. The tool is simple. But complex behaviour emerges from it. @gilescolborne
  120. 120. So we have four strategies that work in different ways. 1. Remove features But in each case, we can’t 2. Hide features completely eliminate complexity. 3. Group features 4. Displace features @gilescolborne
  121. 121. Sometimes we can’t remove features. Sometimes we 1. Remove features need to add them. 2. Hide features and sometimes fewer features 3. Group features can feel more complex. 4. Displace features @gilescolborne
  122. 122. Hiding features works - but we have to figure out where to hide 1. Remove features something so it can be found. 2. Hide featuresAnd it means we have to add components to 3. Group features the system. 4. Displace features @gilescolborne
  123. 123. Grouping features works - if the user has complex 1. Remove features knowledge. 2. Hide features 3. Group features 4. Displace features @gilescolborne
  124. 124. And when you displace features, you push complexity 1. Remove features to another part of the system (or the users’ 2. Hide features imagination). 3. Group features 4. Displace features @gilescolborne
  125. 125. I wanted to be able to state some laws of simplicity as well as some tips for achieving it. What about some laws? @gilescolborne
  126. 126. The first law of simplicity: Complexity is never eliminated, merely reduced and displaced my first law is that, even if you reduce complexity, you will not eliminate it. So you must Ask yourse lf: where do I want the complexity to end up? @gilescolborne
  127. 127. The second law of simplicity: Simplicity is an experience it happens in the user’s head My second is that simpl icity is whatever your users think it is. It’s their experience that determin es whether something is simple. @gilescolborne
  128. 128. Focus on these • What is core • Make your experience compact • Align the experience to what’s core • Rely on existing user knowledge • Decide where you want to place complexity • Trust the user if you want to improve simplicity, you can add these focus points to the strategies. But above al l, Don’t prescribe what’s simple - you must trus t your users. @gilescolborne
  129. 129. Get the book @gilescolborne 129
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