“With the ever growing spread of computers into our daily lives, software application design is more and more focusing on untrained and casual users. These users have very different requirements from professional users who for a long time dominated the business scene. Developers need to take this new breed of users seriously and design applications that do not frustrate them.”

Simplification is as challenging and important today as it was in 2004 when our (now retired) colleague and UX expert, Gerd Waloszek, published those introductory words in his extensive online guide to the topic on the now defunct SAP Design Guild. With this post, we would like to continue to offer this “oldie but goodie” resource from the SAP Design Guild to our readers. (Click here to access Gerd’s guide to simplification.) In the guide, Gerd covers the following topics:

  • Simplification
    • What does simplification mean? What are its benefits?
  • The Users
    • Who are your users, what are their needs?
    • Some myths about users
    • What does cognitive psychology tell us about users?
  • Design principles
    • Global goals for simplification
    • Design principles for simplification
    •  Simplicity
      • Reduction
      • Organization, Structure
      • Integration
      • Prioritizing
    • Transparency
      • Understandability
      • Learnability
      • Self-Descriptiveness
      • Consistency, Conformity to User Expectations
      • Stability, Continuity
      • Feedback
      • Metaphors
      • Efficient (Re)presentation
      • Aesthetics
    • Effectiveness and Efficiency
      • Goal Orientation
      • Suitability for the Task
      • Error Robustness
      • Distribution of Tasks (Division of Labor)
      • Balance of Controllability vs. Guidance – Amodality vs. Modality
      • Parallelism
  • And finally, Gerd gives some tips and tricks for achieving simplification in business software.

We hope you find some helpful nuggets of wisdom and inspiration to accompany you on your journey to “simplify for usability.”

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