Looking for a good example of simplicity in UX design? Google it
When defining simplicity by aesthetic, perhaps there is no more perfect an example than Google. When a user goes to the website, they are presented with only one input: the search bar. This search bar then auto fills possible search queries based on complicated algorithms before pulling a list of relevant search results. Compare this to Yahoo, where a user is bombarded with information and options.
To the user, both Google’s interface and the experience are simple and self-explanatory even though the backend of the application is not.
“I think simplicity ties in a lot with intuition. That notion of whether the user experience is intuitive in nature makes the end result a very simple and delightful user experience,” said Dominic Wong, the head of experience design at Invoke. “Do I know instinctively what to do? And if I if I go out and do it, is it actually aligning to my behavioral expectations of an experience?”
The simplicity of Google is perhaps part of the reason why “Google it” became a part of our lexicon. The experience is designed in such a fashion that it is easy for a user to find what they are looking for—and find it quickly.
[UX] is threatened when the simplicity of an interface design comes at the expense of usability
User experience is threatened when the simplicity of an interface design comes at the expense of usability, such as when elements are buried, buttons are not labeled clearly, or the user is unfamiliar with the navigation. Even simple design needs to be strategic and take into account the users’ customs.
“Simplicity has to tie in with how to guide someone to intuitively make decisions,” Wong said.
User experience in the age of instant gratification
When it comes to simplicity and functionality, maintaining consistency in what a user innately expects from an experience is perhaps equally as important as accounting for the fact that today’s users are also accustomed to getting what they want right away.
Like it or not, we’re deep in the age of instant gratification and this needs to be taken into consideration when designing a user experience.
“People are expecting less flashiness and a certain level of utility,” Wong said.
“I think nowadays when the visual or stylistic elements become overbearing, it actually detracts from the experience.”
While there are opportunities to create lush user experiences and interfaces, they need to be appropriate to the end goal—both that of the user and of the design. You don’t want the user interface to distract from the user experience. Rather, you want to offer the user what they came for in a prompt manner that is easy to follow and understand.
“The best way to grab attention and build interest is to present a single core idea, fully fledged,” wrote Daniel Ritzenthaler on 52 Weeks of UX. “This allows the user to make a binary decision about it: ‘Am I interested or not?’ Introducing a feature in a way that people can instantly map it to a desired outcome will help them prioritize and be confident about their next step.”