The Complexity Curve: How to Design for Simplicity
In this session, the presenter introduces the “Complexity Curve”. He discussed why our innovative ideas seem to fade over the course of a project, and he explained why "feature complete" is not the same as "optimal experience". and offered some methods for driving projects toward an interface of simplicity.
The Complexity Curve describes how a project moves from boundless opportunity and wonderful ideas to requirements checklists and constraints, then finally (but only rarely) to simplicity and elegance. Where many projects call themselves complete when the necessary features have been included, few push forward and strive to deliver the pleasing and delightful experiences that arise from simplicity, focus, and purpose.
The complexity curve is when the project seems simple at first but new features are raised, we come up with new ideas, reviewers want one more thing, and more and more. Then the system gets overloaded. Then it gets to point where all features are there but it is too complex. How do you trim it down?
There are three components of models; the mental model, the conceptual model, and the system model. These models need to be consistent for simplicity to occur. Design patterns are also key. We tend to borrow patterns that were successful elsewhere that do not work in new situations.
Scope increase is a challenge here. New stakeholders can cause havoc. Technical and legal requirements can be a problem, as well as marketing requirements, that come in at the last minute.
-High cognitive load leads to sense of complexity.
-We need to look for advances in technology to make things simpler.
-Simplicity is not just about reduction.
-Watch what people are doing. Make it easier for people to do what they are already doing
-The key ingredient is critical thinking. Think about what you are doing