Menu ▼

<< Back to all book notes

My notes from:

Simple and Usable: Web, Mobile, and Interaction Design

A short primer about high-level design and usability principles.

About people

  • People love simple, dependable, adaptable products.
  • Increasing complexity is unsustainable.
  • Get out of your office; the best place to watch users is in their natural environment.
  • Three types of users: experts, willing adopters, mainstreamers. Ignore experts, design for the mainstream.
  • Mainstreamers want: getting the job done, ease of control (as opposed to the precision of control), reliable results, no fear of breaking something, good match, examples and stories.
  • Emotional needs are important.
  • Simplicity is about control.
  • Focus on the main action and describe it as the user sees it (user stories).

There are four strategies for simplifying:

1. Remove

  • “Kill lame features. Broken gets fixed, but shoddy lasts forever.” ~ Jack Moffett
  • Remove words, simplify sentences.
  • Lessen (information) load, isolate from distractions, remove sources of errors; every error breaks the concentration and makes the experience feel more complex.

2. Organize

  • Clear boundaries between groups.
  • Grids.
  • Size and location.
  • Layers.
  • Color coding.

3. Hide

  • Infrequent but necessary.
  • Progressive disclosure: show simple, and complex if requested.
  • NYT online edition shows a question mark icon when you select a word with a dictionary reference. Hide something completely, and reveal only when needed.
  • Locus of attention - the area of the screen that the user is concentrated on.

4. Displace

  • Mobile vs desktop, user vs computer
  • Conservation of complexity: sometimes the complexity cannot be reduced, only moved to another place.

If you like these notes, read the book, it’s worth it.

Explore other book recommendations or read my book notes.

Stay up to date:
Email · RSS feed · LinkedIn · Mastodon

Back to top ▲