Digging through complexity to deliver useful, relevant or entertaining experiences.
“Simplicity isn’t just a visual style. It’s not just minimalism or the absence of clutter. It involves digging through the depth of the complexity. To be truly simple, you have to go really deep.”
— Jony Ive, Senior Vice President of Design, Apple
There is a common misconception out there; that simplicity is easy, when in fact it’s really, really hard. It’s much easier to add to what already exists, than it is to start over.
The path towards simplicity starts with empathy. Only by putting ourselves in the shoes of our consumers can we begin to understand what truly adds value, and what just gets in the way. By choosing simplicity, we put the needs of our users before our own ego, digging through complexity to deliver useful, relevant or entertaining experiences.
Simplicity is a highly valuable and desirable brand asset, one that rewards significantly. Studies3 show that brands which score highly for simplicity out-perform the market by 99% with players such as Google, Amazon, Virgin Atlantic and Ikea leading the way.
It would be a mistake to confuse simple for basic. People are willing to pay a premium for simplicity and are becoming increasingly frustrated by overly complex experiences and a perceived lack of clarity.
Apple are a brand that have built an empire on the value of simplicity. Their devices have a reputation for being easy to use, and beautifully designed. Yet Apple products are always powerful, smart, sophisticated, and built upon cutting-edge technology. Apple’s obsession with simplicity is often in stark contrast to their rivals – Microsoft, Intel and Dell – and took them from the brink of bankruptcy to the most valuable company in the world.
Simplicity requires focus and commitment to the things that really matter, with a thousand no’s for every yes. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. It takes courage to fight for simplicity when the path of least resistance perpetuates complexity.