Smart is subtle

In the spirit of bad interface design, there’s an overall principle worth bearing in mind. For all your smartphones and smart cards, and smart things, I sometimes feel very dumb trying to work them. They make me think too much. I used to have a Honda Civic, and when I chose that, I also looked at a Hyundai and a Ford Focus Titanium. One of the things that stood out for me was that the Titanium was overloaded with flashing lights and dials, and the Hyundai had lots of buttons. The Civic was just a nice car to drive, with a dashboard that wasn’t distracting. There are lots of smarts in the car, from auto-stop, to a hill-start clutch, but most of the smarts are in the background. Not just hidden, but working behind the scenes so I don’t have to think about them.

Remove the flashy lights, and the buttons no-one presses,and the options that you can automate. And simplify the rest. Boot by hiding complexity but by managing it.

3 replies on “Smart is subtle”

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