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Simplified UX: The Next Big Thing In Design

July 3, 2021 |
UX, UX Design
Simplified UX

Simplicity is so Incredibly Important in UX Design. The first requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother. Next comes simplicity and elegance that produce products that are a joy to own, a joy to use. Throwing too many elements at your readers at once is a good way to drive them into information overload. Too much at once does nothing to help the viewer interact with a webpage, and it may send them scrambling for the back button. In 2021, simplified UX became one of the latest UX trends.

A simplified UX is often complex, and hard to achieve. Simple design is increasingly difficult due to consumer desire for integrated software, big data and the internet of things amongst others – these all lead to more user touchpoints and more things to consider. The more things there are to consider, the harder it can be to keep things simple.

Why Use a Simplified UX?

1. Attention Spans of Users is Very Short 

Google allows us to have instant access to billions of sites. We want everything quicker and won’t accept slow sites which take longer to load. Etsy did an experiment with this. They added 160kb of hidden images to their mobile page to slow it right down. They saw a 12% increase in bounce rate. This means designs need to be as intuitive as possible. Users shouldn’t feel overloaded and also so the page loads quickly.

2. Complicated Products Have More Features

This is where more and more features keep getting added on to a product without them being properly thought out. When this happens the original value of the product is lost. The user is completely confused by the number of options.

3. Simple is More Convenient

Users are ruthlessly obsessed with doing whatever they need to as quickly as possible by choosing the path of least resistance. Simple products will have a competitive advantage as users can dip in and out of them. Let’s take the example of Uber. They kept a simple design, not bothered to wow the users but have captured them in droves due to simplifying what can be a drawn-out process. Pre-Uber people had to hail a taxi, make sure they had cash on them, hope that the driver had GPS and then sit and wait for their change at the end of the ride. This process has now been entirely automated which is far more convenient for everyone involved.

4. Simple is More Pleasing

One area where this is particularly apparent is when completing an online web form. Going back ten years web forms were often extremely taxing to fill in and lacked the visual prompts we are now used to today. The user often didn’t know they had missed a field until they had already selected ‘complete form’. These days features such as anticipatory design, single-field and natural language form interfaces and an increase in visual prompts can make filling in forms almost fun.

Key Things to Remember While Designing a Simplified UX

1. Make It Simple, But Not Stupid

The main mistake people make about “simple” is confusing it with “stupid.” By simplifying your website, you’re not assuming your reader is stupid. The principles of designing for simplicity are in fact the opposite of designing for stupidity.

Designing for stupidity means laying out every possible choice in small amounts, and explaining every element. Simplicity assumes the reader can draw on appropriate contextual cues, and so gives the reader choices without explaining them.

2. Maintain Focus

When aiming for simplicity, make certain everything on a website has a purpose and a defined goal. The purposes should be of the same type, or similar enough to be grouped with the main purpose. This cuts down on the complexity by itself, and if everything is working towards a defined goal, the complexity is further reduced.

Focus is also provided by a defined goal. Purposeless jumble is inherently complex, no matter how similar the categories are. Providing a goal harnesses the categories to an overriding principle.

3. Provide a Hierarchy On The Basis of Importance

Determine which elements are the most important to your target audience and which are the least. Then focus your attention on the most important elements. This has been summarized in the Pareto Principle, which states that 20% of any system drives 80% of the results. Due to its simplicity, it has been applied to numerous situations, and while the exact ratio may differ, the general trend seems to hold.

To figure out what the target audience finds most important, study it. Look at what it talks about, how it makes decisions, what it likes and dislikes, and what it ignores. When focusing on simplicity, what the audience doesn’t say can be more important than what it does say.

4. Streamline Interactions

Every site requires designers and programmers. Collaboration, both within the project and between the project and the consumers is important. The Pareto principle also applies to section meetings. Most programmers and designers are introverts who become stressed by long interactions. Therefore, 80 percent of meetings are perceived as drains on these individuals’ time, while the 20 percent that’s useful could be better handled outside of meetings.

Consider using collaboration tools. This eliminates much of what web designers and programmers find tedious about the meeting process, leaving only useful results. Along with your expert programmers and designers, consider making use of tools that can enhance your site analysis and test your website before its public launch. Using these tools can reduce the amount of content change and retrofitting after launch because they can catch some of the most egregious mistakes.

It’s clear simplicity has its place in UX design to make products as intuitive and pain-free to use as possible. However, UX designers need to be careful that simplicity never equates to the dumbing down of products, to always include important features and to keep on innovating.

Read More About UX Design Practices Here

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