Demystifying UX Design — Part 3: Simplicity Is Not Simple

So far in the Demystifying UX Design series, I’ve covered several UX design issues that many people erroneously believe to be problematic: long pages and large number of clicks in Part 1; high information density in Part 2. Now, in Part 3 of “Demystifying UX Design,” I’ll discuss another widely held belief among UX designers: that making a user interface look simple is always good practice.

Simplicity Is Not Simple

When it comes to UX design, there is little doubt that simplicity is good. Simplistic design is one of Jakob Nielsen’s widely accepted Web-design heuristics. And the success of Apple user interfaces—which are remarkably simplistic, elegant, and easy to use—has further strengthened the belief that simplicity should always be our goal. Of course, there is much truth in this belief—especially for smartphone user interfaces, where limited screen real estate requires that a user interface be clean.

“Think about what we want to achieve through simplicity in the first place: reducing users’ mental effort, supporting users’ tasks, creating user engagement, and enhancing discoverability.”

However, I’ve found that many UX designers adhere to this idearegardless of context, so take a minimalistic approach even when additional screen elements and content would result in a better user experience.

Simplicity is not that simple.

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Read the entire Demystifying UX Design series

By Frank Guo




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