Keeping it simple

As technology becomes increasingly complex, simplicity is becoming increasingly valuable. While people turn to technology to simplify their lives, the ability to take the complex, evolving, and limitless power of technology and shave it down to a simple action, function, or use is a true achievement.

Ironically, it is the most user friendly, simplest technology that is the hardest to create.

Think of Google search. It is built upon difficult and elaborate algorithms, yet its homepage is sparse, easy to understand, and basic. Like olympic gymnasts, who are fluid and graceful during competition despite years of training and intricate maneuvers, many of the most successful technologies are outwardly simple despite their internal complexity.


Hipmunk and Angry Birds are two other examples of services whose simplicity makes them engaging and functional. Both employ user friendly designs and services that makes them stand out ahead of their competition. Hipmunk trims the fat off of flight search. The very first screen is refreshingly plain and asks just one question: where are you traveling to and from? No extra hotels or car services, annoying popups, or irrelevant vacation recommendations. Instead, it satisfies a travelers single need to discover and purchase the most optimal flight. Simple, useful, and efficient.

The Angry Birds phenomenon is one that still boggles my mind. However, I suspect that a large part of its enormous success (and by enormous I mean well over 50 million players) is due to its simple, enaging game design. Angry Birds manipulates complex technological elements, to create a user interface so basic and addictive that people cannot stop playing. Who would have thought that a game whose mission is to catapult birds into houses full of pigs would be such a lucrative and captivating product?

Sure, you can build a social, photo sharing, deal discovering, location based blahblah application that integrates with hundreds of other platforms. It’s heavy, clunky, and unintuitive.

For the most part, it seems that she who can transform the most advanced technology and make it outwardly simple, ultimately wins.

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