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The Art of Simplicity

It’s often thought that “simple” just means “less” — less words, less features, less colors, etc.

But, sometimes in pursuit of “simple” we end up with obscure.

🌟 Here’s a better definition for simple:

Just enough for comprehension and the ability to pursue and complete our goals.

Instead of solely cutting stuff out, here are a few tips for achieving meaningful simplicity in your writing, designs, and products.

  • Have a single, core idea (not several ideas, or a partial idea)
  • Improve clarity over time (don’t overwhelm with unneeded details)
  • Keep it consistent (have everything flow with each other)

1️⃣ Have a single core idea

A single core idea is tied to an outcome. The end goal for performing an action like using a feature or reading this sentence should be apparent.

A single core idea is binary. It begs the question: “Am I interested in this action or not?” If you want to design a send button, using the word “Send” might work. But, sometimes using the clearer, binary option of “Send Message” is better, even though it has more characters.

A single core idea is also written using easy-to-understand words and repeats itself to get the point across entirely.

🔮 Improve clarity over time

Improve clarity over time with clear starting and ending points. Make sure it’s obvious how to do something valuable within your product.

Also improve clarity over time with progressive disclosure. Don’t shove everything at your user at once. Only provide details that are necessary to understand how to do the current task.

♻️ Keep it consistent

Keep it consistent by building patterns. Make things flow and easy to follow. Put things in similar places so that people can act through intuition.

Simplicity isn’t only about “less”— it’s really about comprehension and clarity of purpose. It’s providing just enough detail so people understand what’s going on, and can be confident on what to do next.

(Insight from 52 Weeks of UX)