Main Content

Living With Complexity

About the Talk

July 21, 2010 5:00 AM

The Wharton School

The Wharton School

Why logic is wrong, why you should first do, then learn, and why owning an iPod, iPhone, PC, iPad, Kindle, a TV set, books, and a desktop computer -- all of them -- is good, sane, and perfectly natural.

Complexity is not only good, it is essential. Our lives are complex as are the activities we do. Our tools must match the activities. People think they want simplicity, but they are wrong, as evidenced by the fact that when offered the choice between a very simple product and one with more features, they opt for the feature-laden one. We don't want simplicity: we want understanding. Complex things can be made understandable: that is the role of good design. One solution is modularity, which is why we have so many different kitchen utensils. Which is why owing a portable computer, a desktop computer, a smart phone, and a pad computer -- all of them -- makes sense for some people. Each is used for a different reason, in a different setting for different purposes.

Now that material has to be available and usable on a wide variety of devices, what does this mean for designers of electronic media? Answer: It's a nightmare. You have a challenge ahead of you. It's better for people, but a nightmare for the design and maintenance staff.

Ratings and Recommendations

Avg. Rating

Average based
on 1 rating

comments powered by Disqus