Do you ever notice how good it feels when you experience the power of simplicity? It's clarifying, even freeing. On the other hand, do you notice how heavy it feels when you're experiencing complexity? It has a certain weight to it.
Why does simplicity feel so good? Because simplicity eliminates, or at least minimizes, intricacy, ornamentation even pretentiousness. Simplicity cuts out the extraneous middle. Simplicity is a faster way to get to whatever and wherever you're after.
Complexity, by its very nature, creates obstacles between where you are and where you're going. Complexity gets in the way. Complexity makes everything it touches a lot more difficult -- and a lot more confusing.
If simplicity frees and complexity limits, then why does complexity clutter our world? Why does complexity become the way we engineer experiences and convey information? I believe it's because we're focused on what we want to share instead of what our audiences will experience.
As a general rule, we don't do a very good job of listening. This is most true when we have something to say or sell. We tend to talk at people. We want others to listen to us, but we rarely ask people how their experience of us makes them feel. This holds equally true for their experience of our products as it does for our interactions.
Why do we pay more attention to what we think rather than what others feel? It's because we believe a rational argument complete with facts and figures will win the day. Our intellectual side is seduced by data, content and possibilities. We want to demonstrate why all of it matters. This is how complexity starts.
That's why white papers are so popular. And why websites are cluttered and confusing. And why we typically purchase business books that are weighty and long. It's why our answers tend to be long-winded. And why our customer interfaces are complicated.
If we can just get out of our own heads to consider the experience of our audiences, we will go a long way toward driving simplicity in many important ways. For example,
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