Does your design help someone get something done?

Endless debates about indentations, rounded corners, and colour choices are UX's version of the sunk cost fallacy. Nothing digital design can offer compares to the experiential joy of an Airbnb host in Dublin recommending the perfect nearby bar. Or a Chicago Lyft driver giving you a dozen amazing food and drink suggestions. Or cycling confidently through Portland at 11pm thanks to turn-by-turn instructions on a Pebble watch.

You don’t need to simplify for the sake of it. Simplicity helps productivity.

In 1990, HCI researcher John M. Carroll ... stressed that reducing a design to its most basic elements is not the end goal of minimalism. Rather, Carroll championed brevity and simplicity in the service of task-oriented results. To position this approach towards web design, Carroll's minimalism translates to getting the interface out of the way, in order to allow users to achieve their goals.

This is why extreme minimalism is not the right kind of simplicity.

In theory, minimalism should move us away from maximalism, and result in streamlined content and more efficient user task flows. In practice however, we've seen minimalism mutate into a superficial visual trend as designers copy popular minimalist characteristics without seriously considering if they support their own site goals.

Your opinions about “exciting” design are not shared by users.

Real users do not know anything about trends, correctly selected indentations and fonts. They only need something functional that makes their life easier. And designers often forget about it.

So it’s important not to focus on the wrong thing.

If product design is about solving problems for people within the constraints of a specific business, then it simply feels that many people calling themselves product/UX designers are actually practicing digital art. They are Artists. They are Stylists. Executing beautiful looking things, which is certainly an important skill, but they are not practising product design.

Jonas Downey told me that Basecamp focuses on productivity at the expense of “stick” design.

Prioritizing respectful interfaces that don't overwhelm or try to nag the user into certain behaviors. We intentionally don't include things like notification counts/badges, 3-column designs, and such unless we absolutely can't avoid them. We don't like the idea of having "sticky" interfaces—we want our customers to use our products to get the job done, and then go do something else. That makes the whole design approach more peaceful in general.

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