May 26, 2012

Complexity Exists. Make it Clear.

I’ll always remember being taught how transistor switches worked in my Technical Studies class at high school. I just didn’t get it. I couldn’t wrap my head around how it worked. Then my teacher sat us down and explained it to us in such a simple way that everything just “clicked”. Lightbulb moment. I always appreciated our teacher after that.

So until recently I was a big supporter of “making things simple”. I always thought that the simpler something is, the easier it would be to use, and hence the better it would be. But a recent tweet by Jared Christensen has turned my thinking upside down.

…maybe “simple” isn’t what you should be striving for. Try “clear” instead. Complexity exists. Make it clear.

Over the last few weeks this thought has been going around in my head and, to be honest has been a bit of a revelation to me. Making things simple is fine, and is often better than the alternative. But complexity inevitably exists and there is only so much you can simplify something that is inherently complex. So make it clear instead.

There are so many applications for this in many different areas of our lives, not just in building websites. So I encourage you to remember that complexity exists. Make it clear!

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