Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Simplicty Engages

In our prior post, we mentioned that simple objects are more engaging, but how exactly does simplicity do this? A better understanding of the specifics behind simplicity for engagement will allow designers to not just deliver less to reduce confusion or provide a seamless facade to hide complexity. Instead, a focus on how simplicity works will perhaps create objects that beckon, communicate, and ultimately engage more successfully.

So why exactly might simplicity engage?

A Core Purpose is Beautiful - objects that communicate their core message well tempt us to stare and hold. A core purpose communicated well is strong in its identity, increasing our desire to affiliate and see beauty in its essence.

Options paralyze - McDonalds got this right with order-by-picture. Point and shoot decision-making keeps us from having to think, which we hate to do.

Complexity is intimidating - While we love to learn, we hate to look stupid doing it.

Familiarity is our default - Creatures of habit return to the same brands. Familiarity is safe and comfortable. Object features and concepts that leverage recognizable elements break down initial acceptance barriers.

What we don't understand is initially rejected - New ideas and opinions are perceived wrong until proven right. New things can be dismissed offhand even by the most open-minded.

Noise begs a pattern - Too much noise and it's, well, noise. Instinctually, we want to understand a pattern if we see one. Like a basic but inscrutable widget from yesteryear, our curiosity is immediately stimulated and we yearn to understand what this thing does.

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