Simplicity and Zen-like elegance has been attributed as the key success factor of many products currently.

Just coming out of a conversation about GUI design I realized that the push for simplicity has 2 challenges or stages. The first is to simplify, i.e. leave out or at least hide rarely used functionality or components.
This in itself can be demanding especially for product engineers who believe in the importance and consequently immediate visibility of each and every feature of the product.

But the more challenging part is actually to do this in a way so that users immediately “feel” the added value of the product. This requires to reflect customer expectations and standard use cases in a very natural way.

We will see this coming even more not only for physical products, but also for processes and customer interaction.

[Update: And here is some insight from Harvard Business Review into the Apple way of achieving this.]

[Update: And the interesting view of Don Norman on Google’s simplicity]

Two stages of simplicity
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