Between 1995 and 2001, Andi provided technology based design services to top tier clients ranging from Fox Television, to Xbox to The Smithsonian, Mandalay Bay and many others. In 2001 he decided to turn his passion into a technology startup focused on hospitality services and a digital design agency in 2004.
After a tour as Creative Director for Deloitte Digital's Seattle office, Andi joined Microsoft as Creative Director for the Communications and People family of products in 2016. Currently focused on product design that redefines the People, Identity and Experience relationships for existing and emerging platforms + devices from phone, to desktop, to the Hololens / Mixed Reality and Virtual Reality paradigms.
The cost of "Easy". Or; is there such a thing as too simple?
Is the drive to simplicity making us stupid? Are we over-preaching the gospel of "easy" with all the gurus and specialists advocating and requiring that systems should be simple and idiot-proof?
How far should we really push it? Should a fighter jet's controls be simple? Should it have just an ignition key, a fly and shoot button? Of course, some things you want Kim Kardashian using, like an iPhone, should only have one big shiny button.
On the other hand, if your device (fighter jet) can cause an international incident, maybe adding a couple of complexity layers may not be such a bad idea after all. Then again, an iPhone is just as likely to cause an international incident... Ultimately it’s about perspective, I suspect.
But I digress.
Is the drive to simplification causing us to automate ourselves to the degree of removing the ability to analyze the situation + decide the right course of action?
Occam's Razor states that all things being equal, the simplest solution is the right solution. This shouldn't be looked at as a license to dumb down, it's really an editing tool that, ideally, should drive clarity.
In the end it's all about analysis vs categorization. And in the case of categorization, we let the machines we built make the decisions we need in order to simplify our life. By having a tool take over the decision process required for categorization, we are removing the power and ability to analyze and determine actions.
Take driving for example.
The problem with driving is that we become conditioned, we develop muscle memory and we act instinctively. Not all bad, when you see brake lights ahead and act reflexively in order to avoid that expensive deductible for bumper and airbag replacement.
However, if the Google driverless car becomes reality, and we don't have to think about it anymore, should the “oh shit” moment occur, you will become paste when that “Powered by Google” driverless semi truck smashes your “Microsoft Enabled“ Ford Escort.
For my money, it boils down to is this: when your users habitually engage the cruise control on your system, it's time to complicate matters a bit and re-force analysis of the situation. But who needs the Thomas Guide when you have a GPS in your phone? Right?
Well, I don’t know about you but when my phone dies on me, I know I’d appreciate a handy alternative that I hope and pray I haven’t forgot how to use.