Clarity and Simplicity in Web Design

One word that does come up a lot in website project discussions is the word “simple”. I hadn’t thought too much about the specifics of using this word until reading about simplicity being overrated at Wired.

The article makes some good points, which I wanted to share here. The biggest being that maybe a better word to use than “simplicity”, at least in regards to designing user interfaces, is “clarity”. The argument is that not everything can be simple, so simplicity is not always the best thing to strive for. Clarity is much more important in the grand scheme of design.

When trying to design a user interface for a complex system we should strive to make the usability clear, even if it is not necessarily simple. A very simple design, on top of a complex system, might actually be more cumbersome if not implemented in a way that provides clarity.



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