Perceived simplicity vs. experienced simplicity 18:41 on Monday

Going back to my two year old How Good Experience chart, and combining it with lessons from Maeda’s book The Laws of Simplicity, I came to the conclusion that:

  • Perceived simplicity, the “look” of simplicity, makes products attractive
  • Experienced simplicity, simplicity of use, the feel of simplicity, makes products convenient


3 Responses to “Perceived simplicity vs. experienced simplicity”


  1. PA Says:

    Seems reasonable. The problem is that while deciding between the alternatives, many people consider products boasting a simplistic too limited and prefer those that have or seem to have more features. Hence I’m not sure whether it an be said that the look of simplicity always makes things look attractive. It seems that many people are attracted to less simplistic looks.

    Anyway, thanks for reminding of the diagram. I had forgotten it. The axes you use are actually pretty much the same than in a diagram, presented in Schaffer’s Institutionalization of usability. There the combination of “cool and usable” is discussed. It is suggested that usability experts take care of convenience while advertising people cater for the looks.


  2. Niko Says:

    In my view perceived simplicity is one of many things that makes products attractive. Another attractivity factor is how appropriate and complete the featureset of a product is perceived to be. In reality this is often paradoxical, but so are many other things in life. :)

    I’m actually working on a presentation for next Thursday with an expanded list of attractive/convenient product attributes. I hope to share the presentation later!

  3. samin Says:

    I’d say yes and no.

    Perceived simplicity can also be within an experience, almost as a result of a transparent and fluid interactions. Like a good visual design for example– it makes the whole process of going through certain amount of steps a whole more pleasant, right?