ia play

the good life in a digital age

designing for flow

Jim Ramsey writes at A List Apart about designing for flow (challenge carefully balanced with your abilities) rather than ease of use. I was very excited to find someone applying Csikszentmihalyi’s theories to web design. And even more so to find Jim tackling the keep-it-simple/making-the-complex-clear debate:

“The goal should not necessarily be to create a simple site. The goal should be to create a site that feels painless to use no matter how complex it really is. But wait, you might be thinking, hasn’t there been a simplicity movement in web design over the last few years? Yes, but there’s a learning curve for any site that seeks to solve a complex problem. We shouldn’t confuse simplicity with a desire to avoid needless complexity.”

Blackbeltjones was also bemoaning the tendency to stick with ‘don’t make me think’ in design and set himself the goal to create services that ‘scamper between beautiful extremes‘ of designs to be glanced at and those to be pored over.

Ramsey’s four flow-based rules reminded me of one BBC team’s (unsuccessful) iPlayer pitch which began with the analogy of a remote control with the more advanced buttons hidden, concealed from everyday use. We have a tendancy never to build those advanced buttons because most of the users (and/or our target users) never use them but we have to remember that simplicity is only one reason that evangelists evangelise.

Written by Karen

December 29th, 2007 at 3:21 am

Posted in bbc,psychology,theory