I’m sure he was just trying to make a point, but the request in our latest training by the author to add an arrow pointing to an arrow is just crazy, as Instructor Graves said. Clean and simple design is such an important part of presenting information, and it is so often violated. As I’ve said elsewhere, some people seem to have been frightened by white space as children.
I found this useful article on simplicity in design*, and want to share its concepts with you.
The author discusses four ways to achieve simplicity in design. She is specifically referring to web design, but a broader term for that is UX: user interface design. UX applies to creating instructional design interfaces as well. She quotes Steve Jobs:
Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.
The author goes on to explain that simplicity is about more than just lots of white space or lack of ornamentation. It goes to the heart of what a site visitor or learner is seeking to accomplish and making that connection on the page or interface. She says:
Simplicity in design isn’t just about the minimal colors you use or the whitespace you include, it’s about going deep into your user’s minds and using that understanding to design a product that rids itself of inconsequential elements and closes the gap between the user’s goals and the means to achieve those goals through your system.
These are her four principles:
- Maintain clarity: understand and design for your users’ main goals
- Make use of automation: design for a minimum amount of conscious and cognitive effort
- Limit options: design for a strong “information scent”
- Reduce the gulf of execution: make your users see how your product can help them achieve their goals
I highly recommend reading this article! I think if we apply these principles to the appearance of our instructional design materials, our learners will thank us.
*Wong, E. (2019). Simplicity in design: 4 ways to achieve simplicity in your designs. Retrieved from https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/simplicity-in-design-4-ways-to-achieve-simplicity-in-your-designs