El·e·gant, an adjective and define or characterized by or exhibiting refined, tasteful beauty of manner, form, or style. Marc Jacob? Chanel? Jil Sander? Hermes? All are unquestionably elegant by design in the fashion world. How about smartphones or interfaces? Can they be elegant?
If you want someone to remember your information, should you use a simple, easy to read font or one that is more complicated and difficult to read? Most people would guess that simplicity is best; after all, we know that simple fonts convince better. Surprisingly, though, those who opted for simplicity would be wrong.
Targeting Boomers or seniors with your advertising? Keep it simple. While that’s usually good advice for any kind of advertising, brain scans show a dramatic difference in the ability of older brains to suppress distracting information. Studies by Dr. Adam Gazzaley (then at UC Berkeley, now at UC San Francisco) found the suppression difference in older vs. younger brains was the key factor in memory formation decline in older people.
The issue of simplicity vs. complexity is, well, complicated. In business, simplicity and brevity are usually greatly preferred, but in marketing trying to get your message into a few words sometimes doesn’t work as well as longer text. For example, some of the most effective direct sales letters are lengthy, running many pages long. Longer product descriptions can outperform short ones. An interesting little test conducted by FutureNow and described by Anne Holland shows that when it comes to guarantees, simple may be best.
I think there is a lot more to this discussion, more than about “just making things simple and easy to use”. Why are some objects simple and easy to use but end up limited and boring? Why are some objects, like the iPhone, simple to use but somehow able to have many layers of more complex functions? Is this what they call simplexity, or an “emerging theory that proposes a possible complementary relationship between complexity and simplicity”? (via Wikipedia)