simplicity vs. complexity

There’s a fine line between simplicity and complexity. That line is mindset. Let me explain.

In my daily work I strive to ‘make the complicated simple’, yet as humans we always strive for more complexity.

John Maeda, Associate Director of Research at The Media Lab, gave a TED talk in March 2007, which has only recently been uploaded to the TED website. In it he talks about Simplicity in terms of human nature and ends with one simple insight:

“Simplicity is about living life with more enjoyment and less pain”

Watch the talk to understand fully the above statement.

I think it’s a fantastic talk and illustrates why John is at the top of his field.

Back in May(?) I visited his first solo exhibition in London in a tiny gallery just off Berwick St. Alot of the humour he showed in his art also comes out in this talk.

Back to the point though. What struck me about his talk was how it related to another insight I read recently. David Armano, author of Logic+Emotion, re-posted an article titled ‘Navigators, Explorers, and Engaged Participants’.

In it he discusses the same topic of simplicity vs. complexity – but from a different angle. David highlights the different mindsets of people’s interactive experiences.

In it’s simplest form, when you’re making a payment online you want the process to be uncomplicated and straight forward (Navigator). If you’ve got some time to kill then you might enjoy stumbling around, not really caring how you get from point A to B (Explorer). Lastly and most uniquely, if you engage with an experience online you can invest some time in creating something with the pay- off being the ability to share it, such as uploading a video to YouTube (Engaged Participant).

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