Simplicity is the key to Usability

Reading Meg’s post on the Talented Apps blog I was inspired to write a quick blog post rather than leave a long comment. Meg talks about how we can strive to improve the usability of our applications, something that we need to continually work on. We did what we thought was the right thing with our AGIS out of the box in R12, but this was really just scratching the surface, there is always room for improvement and we need to constantly reduce the complexity we present to users.

John Maeda has an excellent book and companion website on the laws of simplicity, which is a must read. I have lent the book out to a lot of people and I can’t remember who has it now, but if it’s you and you’re reading this – please return it! This book lays out a set of laws that all design should adhere to in order to reduce complexity and having these ideas in the front of your mind is going to help guide you in the right direction when working on designs.

It is a challenge to create a set of complex applications, but the real challenge is to keep the complexity hidden giving a simple user experience and this is where I believe applications vendors will provide most value going forward.  We simply need to reduce the complexity (and hence cost) associated with owning applications without sacrificing any functionality – this is not easy, but I like a challenge and fortunately the people I work with do too.