Perceived simplicity

Whilst working on a project for one of our sister agencies an epiphany of sorts smacked me around the chops regarding IA structures and perceived simplicity.

Yeh, what a boring epiphany, but an epiphany none the less.

Maybe there’s no need to have a rational structure. A solid structure perhaps isn’t in fact our primary goal.. Perhaps just getting people to dive in and be engaged through a perceived simplicity is a better goal.

If you’re presented with only one option you’re probably going to take it. The likelihood of interaction is a function of choice.

The ipod classic interface is a great example of this. It’s interface gives you one point access to everything on the machine. Maybe not the most intuitive interface at first, but everyone wants to press that big button and dive in. The rest of the information just flows after that.

Would anyone ever design a web interface with the same interface as an  Ipod? Probably not. But why not? Stick one point navigation at the top of the page and be done with it.

The good old Beeb is the closest I can think of that looks at this type of structure. They’ve got one big button at the top saying “Explore the BBC”. That’s it.

Obscuring primary navigation items goes against all my UX training and experience, but it seems so right.

A structure that doesn’t make immediate sense, or even seem useful, may indeed make more sense.

When a structure gives off the perception of simplicity an increase in the initial interaction is exponential.

Maybe.

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