Ockham’s Razor and Design

Many of us are familiar with Ockham’s Razor, essentially a problem-solving principle, which suggests that the simplest explanation is the most likely to be true, especially if there are more complex, competing alternatives being offered.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot as we design YEN.

Building something new isn’t easy so you should always try to keep things as simple as possible. This means that you should stay away from over-complicating the design or anything around the interface and user-experience that doesn’t provide immediate and obvious value.

Users just want to get to where they are going (and where they need to be) without clicking too many times or being distracted. This is much easier said than done.

This is partly why we’ve borrowed heavily from other existing products (at least in the beginning) so as to reduce cognitive dissonance and load – we can provide a functionally rich (and diverse) offering without having anyone learn anything fundamentally new.

A corollary design principle comes to mind:

A design isn’t finished when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

Amen and amen.

It’s hard enough to learn a new system, with all of the many alternatives out there… might as well make it as easy as possible to adopt, use, and enjoy.

And, if you think you’ve pared it down enough… do it again… and then again… and then again.