Bookmark: "Make me think!"

Sebastian Greger


Make me think!

While usability and UX have long been obsessed with simplification, following the “Don’t make me think” credo, Ralph Ammer formulates while the reduction of depth and the increased abstraction that comes with that is maybe not the best outcome:

Our decisions have consequences for ourselves and others. A simplified appearance can make us blind to those consequences. […] Simplification is a powerful design strategy. Naturally the button to make an emergency call should be as simple as possible. And yet, we also need further design strategies that help us accept, understand, and interact with complex situations in our lives.

I strongly believe in the “Don’t make me think” principle as long as it comes to reducing friction from obvious UI tasks (as in: if a simple button will do, don’t over-engineer some fancy UI to do the same thing). But I equally subscribe to the author’s sentiment that it is outright dangerous to create systems that take away users’ ability to fully understand or reflect on the context of often complex circumstances.

Maybe something along the lines of “Don’t make me think about the obvious, but make me think about the things worth thinking about”?

I'm Sebastian, Sociologist and Interaction Designer. This journal is mostly about bringing toge­ther social science and design for inclusive, privacy-focused, and sustainable "human-first" digital strategies. I also tend to a "digital garden" with carefully curated resources.

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