Why Simplicity Matters

You can drive a car even when you don’t know how it works or how to fix it. You can make a call when you don’t know the technical intricacies that make it all work. You can blowdry your hair even if you don’t know how you get the power supply.

That’s the beauty of simplicity! Hide the complexity from the user’s view and make it simple to use. Technology is a tool, like a screw-driver or a hammer, that’s supposed to serve certain purposes. And they don’t have to be what the inventor had in mind. People find creative uses for technical devices and technology in general.

Technology serves only one master–You, the user!

Any technology or techinical gadgets, to survive, needs to meet the needs and wants of the intended or ad hoc users. And they have to stay in tune with the business climate or the stages in economic development. Otherwise, they wither just like a seedling in bad climate and lack of care would.

The tech space is full of unintended consequences. Take the phone, for instance. Alexander Graham Bell intended to invent a hearing-aid for his wife and developed a new communication tool that connects people till now. Thomas A. Edison envisioned an answering machine that records your caller’s voice permanently, and invented a phonograph in the process.

The KISS principle–Keep it simple, stupid!

In technology terms, the border between you and the machine or technology is called “an interface.” What makes iPod such a great hit? It’s simplicity in user interface that’s intuitive and right for the purpose of quicky finding thousands of songs. And it looks cool and neat on top of that.

Some in the design domain have a name for this kind of simplicity–“simplexity,” a name that sounds a bit complex and runs the risk of failing its purpose. Anyways, the idea is simple: use any technology that serves the given purpose but hide it from view of the user.

In other words, “simplexity” is a complexity wrapped neatly by simple and intuitive user interface. A case in point? Take cars and power sockets on the walls. And what makes Web 2.0 so prevalent? Well, it’s simplicity! Make it simple for people to participate, share, interact, and work together to make it better.


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