10 Rules of Simplicity

John Maeda offers ten laws for balancing simplicity and complexity in business, technology, and design:

  1. Reduce: the simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction
  2. Organize: organization makes a system of many appear fewer
  3. Time: savings in time feel like simplicity
  4. Learn: knowledge makes everything simpler; therefore train the user
  5. Differences: simplicity and complexity need each other
  6. Context: what lies in the periphery of simplicity is definitely not peripheral (let the user comfortably lost)
  7. Emotion: more emotions are better than less
  8. Trust: in simplicity we trust (before getting more elaborate)
  9. Failure: some things can never be made simple (Google maps launch in the browser)
  10. The One: simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful

Implement Habit-forming Behaviour to Win Customers

Remember this life cycle when developing a habit-forming products to win more customers:

  1. First, you need a trigger, such as an advertisement, commercial, or other marketing materials
  2. The customer needs to take an action, and the customer has to have the will and also be able to take the action in simple steps
  3. Customer has to be instantly rewarded for taking the action and using the product
  4. The product has to be habit-building by offering rewards and changing the customer’s behaviour for the customer to take the action again

My Design Checklist

Remember these simple rules when designing any new system that interacts with the human user:

  • It must look elegant and appealing to the eye — first, it’s all about the presentation
  • It must fail, if ever, gracefully — it will happen and better prepare for it
  • It should have an element of surprise and enlightenment — give more and delight the user
  • It should be designed for the good user in mind — hackers will always try to exploit the system, so dont penalize the good user
  • Think about performance and think it thorough — second, it’s all about the functions
  • Dont forget the grandma rule — your grandma should quickly learn how to use the system
  • Every system will require some training and have that in mind
  • Dont forget to have fun with it — it’s your life and your time going into it