Designing for Simplicity
A design is a blueprint or design for the construction or the implementation of some act or procedure, the result of which is the tangible result or object of that design or blueprint. The word ‘design’ actually refers to a lot more than just architects and interior designers use it for. The word ‘design’ can apply to art or engineering as well, but then it would be mere word play – as in ‘an artist’s life is the process’, or ‘the results of scientific experiments are always experimental’. In this article we’ll be looking at just what ‘design’ means.
In common usage, the term ‘design’ typically refers to the process of creating an artistic design, or to produce something of beauty, usually with the aid of computers. The word ‘design’ is used in much more contexts than that of the arts and technology, however, and designers today also have professional meanings that go beyond aesthetics and include processes of design development. A designer may make a product that satisfies a need, satisfies human standards of taste, or both, and whose price is reasonable. Designers are also involved in software development, in producing applications and games that solve specific problems or fulfill certain goals. A group of designers at a computer game developer company may collaborate to create the most technically challenging, visually appealing, and economically viable game possible.
One particular area in interface design that has received a lot of attention recently is minimalism. Minimalism refers to a style of designing that treats the entire visual system as a single unit, with all of its parts acting together and contributing to the theme or overall effect of the whole image. For example, when a user looks at an iPhone, she not only sees the phone’s screen, but the icons she can tap, expand, and drag on the screen, and the various functions that she can use. The functions that designers use to describe these elements may be referred to as interfaces, because they combine the elements of the display system and the user experience. While many of the functions that appear on the screen can be taken for granted, like the color palette used by most smartphone apps, the way they are organized and represented can specify how the app design communicates information to the user.
One example of minimalism in a design is the absence of buttons or text on the screen. Instead, there are folds, shadows, and other decorative effects that communicate the lack of unwanted information and action to the user. In terms of functionality, minimalism can be applied to UI elements as well. In some cases, this could mean removing icons, moving features closer to the center of the screen, or using borderlines to specify functions that are important to the designer but less essential to the target audience.
As designers who use minimalism in UI or app design continue to explore its potential, they are coming across several alternative conceptions of usability and user experience that mirror aspects of minimalism. These ideas are becoming even more important now that mobile apps are experiencing a level of popularity comparable to those of traditional desktop software. Mobile apps have become a powerful marketing tool for businesses looking to reach customers on the go. However, effective apps require an easy-to-navigate user experience and one that doesn’t force users to take extra steps or tap information repeatedly. As designers who strive to create user-friendly interfaces continue to examine the principles of minimalism, they may discover additional approaches to achieve these goals.
An excellent example of a digital product that utilizes minimalism is the Apple iPad. Despite being a powerful device that pushes the limits of how many applications a user can have running at the same time, it provides an extremely easy to use interface that minimizes the amount of stress a user will feel while navigating through the device. With minimalistic UI, it is possible to eliminate most of the need for traditional buttons or menu bar commands and yet still be able to provide the necessary information to the user. This is because an iPad not only controls the screen, but it controls everything within it, including animation, visual feedback, functionality, and so much more. With this in mind, a designer can utilize their knowledge of minimalism to create a user-friendly interface that meets the needs of their digital product and avoids potential frustration and annoyance.