Why simplicity improves the user experience for all

Duncan Stephen
Tuesday 9 September 2014

The myth of the sophisticated user

Our goal as designers is to make things as easy as possible for the user. When we set out to simplify content and convert jargon terms into plain English, we are sometimes told that we should not need to do so because St Andrews students are just so clever that they’ll know what all our internal jargon means.

This article sums up exactly why it is so important to all users that we make the website as simple as possible to use.

It begins by telling the story of two users. John has little experience using the web and struggles to understand complicated interfaces. Meanwhile Jane is a tech-savvy user who loves to get things done online.

Now comes the part that too few people who make design decisions realize: while John and Jane have different problems and are different types of users, their needs are identical. In short, they both want to get the hell off this screen. John is unconfident, and Jane has other things to do. They both need the screen to make sense. They both need the task flow to be obvious. They both need to just get past it…

It doesn’t matter how savvy your users are, better design benefits everyone. Having a proficient audience is no excuse to slack off. You’re still designing for human beings, and human beings, one and all, have better things to do than try to make sense of a weak design.

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