Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ten Laws of Simplicity

I am currently reading Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs (2011).  Jobs interest in Eastern spirituality, especially Hinduism and Zen Buddhism, provides for an interesting view of his design philosophy.  Simplicity was and is a cornerstone of Job's (and thus Apple's) idea of the human and machine interface.  Look at the iPod - - a game-changer across numerous industries, it was so easy to operate it didn't need an operator's manual.  How many watches can make that claim?

A good companion book to Isaacson's is The Laws of Simplicity (2006) by John Maeda.  Consider his ten laws of simplicity:
  1. Reduce - - The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction.
  2. Organize - - Organization makes a system of many appear fewer.
  3. Time - - Savings in time feels like simplicity.
  4. Learn - - Knowledge makes everything simpler.
  5. Differences - - Simplicity and complexity need each other.
  6. Context - - What lies in the periphery of simplicity is definitely not peripheral.
  7. Emotion - - More emotions are better than less.
  8. Trust - - In simplicity we trust (Jobs would probably love this one).
  9. Failure - - Some things can never be make simple.
  10. The One - - Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful.

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