This is part of a series looking at John Maeda’s ten Laws of Simplicity.
“Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful.”
With a great definition like that, it should be clear why I think simplicity is everyone’s job. There is enough complexity in the world without even trying. The more meaningful sites we can add to the Web, the better.
With this single law, he fixes a failure he acknowledged in the ninth law:
“Simplicity is hopelessly subtle and many of its defining characteristics are implicit (noting that it hides in simplicity)… When in doubt, turn to the tenth law: the one. It’s simpler that way.
When something is too obvious, it’s probably unneeded. With the obvious removed, the meaningful comes into view. Here are the other nine laws of simplicity, stated in terms of The One:
|Reduce||Removes unneeded features.|
|Organize||Saves some of the features for when needed.|
|Time||Speeding up a process removes unneeded waste of time.|
|Learn||Remove unneeded confusion by explaining.|
|Differences||If everything is meaningful, nothing is.|
|Context||Make the meaningful subtle.|
|Emotion||Sometimes something can be obvious and meaningful.|
|Trust||When we trust that we’re seeing something meaningful, even more can be removed.|
|Failure||Sometimes with only the meaningful remaining, it’s still complex.|