Presentation about simplicity

This is a nice presentation about simplicity, worth a squizz. However, there are a few key points that the author misses:

  • The difference between simplification and simplicity. One is an attempt to take a DVD player control and make it easier to use. The other is a desire to design life in a way that enables you to no have to worry about the control, whether it’s complicated or simple.
  • The presentation in 128 pages and no doubt took the author a long, long time to put together – after all, it includes some great images. Could the presentation itself have incorporated more of its own recommendations?
  • It’s heavily focused on technology. How many of the examples are technological solutions to problems that were previously solutions – i.e. Google is a solution to the problem of finding information on the web, which originated as a better way of sharing information… we pile these solutions upon problems upon solutions. At some point we’ve got to ask whether the added value is worth the added effort.

I’ve written to the author, I’ll hope to post some of his thoughts if he gets back to me. I’ve started asking people about how they weave simplicity into their lives and will be posting their replies shortly – it’s fantastic to hear about people’s rewarding experiences. For more, read Duane Elgin’s ‘Voluntary Simplicity’ it’s filled with timeless wisdom from simpletomians.

Or, should I give up this blog and make life a little simpler for myself, oh wicked irony?

No, primarily because the task of digesting and writing these thoughts helps me simplify, regardless of who reads it. This blog creates value for me in-and-of itself. The knowledge that it is publicly accessible and potentially read from afar accentuates my discipline.

Simpletomians unite.

2 thoughts on “Presentation about simplicity

  1. Nice post.

    To paraphrase, one way of looking at simplicity is to do pointless things efficiently. A better way might be to do fewer pointless things.

    I can think of few approaches to simplicity that start with a 128 page powerpoint presentation.

    I can think of a few more that start with a view of the sea.

  2. Thanks Andy, succinctly and eloquently put.
    Here’s an email I received from Giri:

    i think the presentation is far too complex. Somebody writing on
    simplicity should know one further rule – Brevity.

    And also the email from the author of the presentation:

    Hi, Tom.

    Glad you enjoyed it – the presentation has been picked up all over the world and I’ve had a wonderful response from readers.

    The slides are from a workshop I ran at the Usability Professionals’ Association conference last week. The audience was made up of people who design technology products – hence the focus on technological examples.

    What’s been remarkable and pleasing is the number of people from other fields who’ve written to say the advice applies to what they do, too.

    I’ll certainly be publishing something in the future discussing how to design novel solutions that are also simple.

    Thanks, again. I’ve bookmarked your blog!


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