DEATH BY
A THOUSAND
PAPER CUTS

USER EXPERIENCE AND COMPLEXITY

Transcript at bit.ly/ux-complexity-ruhr

HÖMMA

Transcript at bit.ly/ux-complexity-ruhr

Bundesarchiv, B 145 Bild-F079042-0001 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Stefan.straub / CC-BY-SA 4.0

MY CAREER IN
COMPLEXITY

“Complex things will require complexity.
It is the job of the designer to manage that complexity with skill and grace.”

Don Norman

COMPLEXITY
IS RELATIVE

MAGIC
vs

FULL CONTROL

COMPLEXITY
MEANS $$$

WE LOVE
CONSISTENCY

BUILD A CAR

MAINTAINING CONSISTENCY IS HARD WORK

“What’s the most ignored paradox in software development? Every time you add something you take something away.” 
Jason Fried

MODULAR
vs

UNIFIED

Making the easy things easy,
and the hard things possible
 

DECISIONS
as

CONSTRAINTS

“Features that are simple in isolation
can become a contagion.”
Jon Bolt

GETTING TO
THE BOTTOM
OF IT ALL

“[…] a solution can only be as good as your understanding of the problem you’re addressing.”
Paul Adams

RUTHLESS PRIORITIZATION

“Any feature that doesn’t help solve problems for your audience should be thought of as a distraction, an unnecessary obstacle that undermines the value of your product.” Jon Bolt

I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW

BUT...
THE CLIENT...

CONCLUSION

  • Complexity is a qualitative concept that depends on its context
  • Complex products are generally perceived as superior and therefore more valuable
  • Consistency helps mitigate complexity in interfaces
  • Unlike our code, experiences can only be designed as a whole
  • Complexity and scope are two sides of the same coin
  • Just like scope, complexity needs to be actively managed on all levels, from the inherent complexity of a feature to the complexity of the entire (brand) experience
  • We cannot sensibly scope or design for an acceptable level of complexity without a clear product vision

“That's an exciting design challenge:
make it look powerful while also making it easy to use. And attractive. And affordable. And functional. And environmentally appropriate. Accessible to all.”
Don Norman

FEDDICH

Transcript at bit.ly/ux-complexity-ruhr

@troubalex

ux-complexity-ruhr

By Alexandra Leisse

ux-complexity-ruhr

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