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Simple and Usable Web, Mobile, and Interaction Design

Simple and Usable Web, Mobile, and Interaction Design

Giles Colborne

Sep 2010, Paperback, 208 pages
ISBN: 9780321703545
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In a complex world, products that are easy to use win favor with consumers. This is the first book on the topic of simplicity aimed specifically at interaction designers. It shows how to drill down and simplify user experiences when designing digital tools and applications. It begins by explaining why simplicity is attractive, explores the laws of simplicity, and presents proven strategies for achieving simplicity. Remove, hide, organize and displace become guidelines for designers, who learn simplicity by seeing before and after examples and case studies where the results speak for themselves.

Part 1

Why are we here?

A story about simplicity

The power of simplicity

Increasing complexity is unsustainable

Not that kind of simple


Fake simplicity

Know yourself

Part 2

Setting a vision

Two ways to describe what’s core

Get out of your office

What to look for

Three types of user

Why you should ignore expert customers

Design for the mainstream

What mainstreamers want

Emotional needs

Simplicity is about control

Choosing the right “what”

Describing the user experience

Putting it all together

World, character, Extreme usability

The quick and dirty way


Getting the right vision

Share it

Part 3

Four strategies for simplicity

Simplify this

The remote control

The four strategies

Part 4



How not to do it

Focus on what’s core

Kill lame features

What if the user…?

But our customers want it

Solutions, not processes

When features don’t matter

Will it hurt?

Prioritizing features Load Decisions


Smart defaults

Options and preferences

When one option is too many


Visual clutter

Removing words

Simplifying sentences

Removing too much

You can do it


Part 5




Organizing for behavior

Hard edges

Alphabets and formats


Time and space


Size and location Layers

Color coding

Desire paths

Part 6



Infrequent but necessary


Automatic customization

Progressive disclosure

Staged disclosure

X doesn’t mark the spot

Cues and clues

Making things easy to find

After you hide

Part 7



Displacing between devices

Mobile vs. desktop

Displacing to the user

What users do best

Creating open experiences

Kitchen knives and pianos

Unstructured data


Part 8

Before we go

Conservation of complexity


Simplicity happens in the user’s head

Photo Credits 186

Index 189

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