I came across an interesting set of principles that you might want to keep
in mind the next time you set out to design an application, a website, or even
improve your daily life. They are The Laws of Simplicity
and were conceived by John Maeda, an artist and noted computer scientist from
the MIT Media Lab. He compiled them in a short, 100-page book (and posted them
on his website as well). I found them in a back issue of Wired
magazine, in an article that applied them in
a critique some new gadget. I have since found that they increasingly
influence my own analysis of UIs and websites, and occassionally
use them as the basis for discussions with clients to keep a design
session on track.
The Laws are:
1. Reduce – The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through
thoughtful reduction of functionality.
2. Organize – Organization makes a system of many appear fewer.
3. Time – Savings in time feel 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 de?nitely not peripheral.
7. Emotion – More emotions are better than less.
8. Trust – In simplicity we trust.
9. Failure – Some things can never be made simple.
10. The One – Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the
You can find a more detailed explanation of each law on his site