I have been told, over and over, to keep the systems I design simple. The mantra is familiar; we all know it well: KISS – keep it simple, stupid.
Everyone and his half-brother is quoted saying something of the sort:
“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
Now, I have a big problem with how many people choose to interpret this concept of simplicity. There are several ways in which KISS can be applied.
KISSing the system
This is the aspect of KISS that people like Jobs have referred to: it is about reducing the set of requirements; eliminating second-tier functionality.
KISSing the system is about identifying the tasks that really need to be supported, and eliminating the rest. If you can halve the number of tasks the system supports, thereby halving the overall complexity, while maintaining 90% of the user-task needs (i.e. the retained tasks are used more than the discarded), your return on effort will increase.
Of course, just because a task is not frequently performed does not mean it is not critical (e.g. a purchasing process involves putting items in a cart, and a check-out; just because the average shopper selects five items before checking out does not mean we can do without the less-used step). Read more of this post