Simple and minimal go hand in hand, but they are not synonymous.
Minimal design is a visual decluttering of objects, forcing designers to say more by displaying less. It is a reduction in style elements, adding only enough to tell a story, accomplish a task, or meet product goals. According to Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, minimalism is skin deep. What appears simple-looking can contain hidden complexities in UI.
Simplicity seamlessly blends the whole experience. Where there is both simplicity and usability, the overall product/application will shine. Design choices are meant to support product goals and empower users, period.
In his book, The Laws of Simplicity,( http://lawsofsimplicity.com/, John Maeda notes, “On the one hand, you want a product or service to be easy to use; on the other hand you want it to do everything that a person might want it to do. […] The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction. When in doubt, just remove. But be careful of what you remove.”
To that end, keeping text copy simple and accessible is key––but not at the expense of meaningful information. Combining both elements is simplification at its best, working in support of both clarity and user experience.
The fewer elements on the screen, the more potent the communication. This is respectful design, as long as users are still able to perform intended functions. We should all strive for simplicity, while avoiding the cost of oversimplification.
To quote Albert Einstein, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
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