Integrating Complexity and Simplicity.

There is and always will be two schools of thought when it comes to this battle between complexity and simplicity. “People want things that are minimalist and easy to use!” claims one group, whereas the other one says that people crave a degree of complexity and integrity in everything they do and see.

Classifying anything as complex or simple can be put down to two things

  • Ease of use
  • Degree of functionality

Legendary designer Dieter Rams has tried all his life to combine these two characteristics. He has strived to bring down the pre-conceived notion that we cannot have the best of both worlds. He aims to reduce the complexity of design, whilst not compromising on the functionality of the device. For example, instead of adding knobs to a transistor, he combined the on/off switch with the volume control. He creates objects that are blatantly simple to use, thereby eliminating the need for a user manual.

Vijay Tella, the founder of Workatoo, said “Business apps have become simpler, mobile, inexpensive, fast and beautiful, while the integration products to connect these apps remained technical, complex, expensive and forbidding.” Workatoo plugged this gap by providing an easy to understand user interface for powerful integration software, thereby becoming a huge success.

Darkhorse Analytics has an article in their blog titled Data Looks Better Naked in which they illustrate through an animated gif how stripping down the data rather than dressing it up is more effective, attractive and impactive.

Another commonplace example for this is Google. Google provides access to almost any document in the web through a very simple and beautiful interface.

‘Art lies in concealing art’. This should be the basis for the creation of all future products. Minimalistic yet useful products are the way forward. It will be difficult to dumb down a complex object with intricate functions into something easy to use, but we can draw hope from the fact that it has been done before.

At the end of the day, simplicity and complexity need each other to coexist. Without complexity we would not appreciate the beauty of the rustic, or the simple things, and for simplicity to exist, the complexity behind them needs to occur in the first place.

— An Article by Abhishek Ramachandran.


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