Simplicity vs. Complexity in Design

I have a Bachelor's Degree in Graphic Design and my projects can extend far beyond what is on paper.  I've never designed a UI before other than a few websites, so I'm not trying to suggest or insinuate that I'm some sort of expert, but I am curious what others think about this topic as it pertains to consoles.


I'm a fan of clean, simple interfaces.  I think that when we are trying to relax and we have too many images/icons/menus in our faces, it can cause a slight rise in anxiety and agitation that we may not even fully be aware of.  I think that is what I feel when I experience the Windows 8 UI, the Xbox 360 (to some degree as the designs have changed over the years) the New UI's for the X1 and for the new PS4 UI.  I think there is a pretty universal thought that MORE IS MORE and I think that with the X1 and why it's getting a colder reception than the 360 is that there is simply TOO MUCH....or maybe it's because we SEE too much of this complexity when most of it could be eliminated or integrated in a way that is more pleasing to the eye and brain.  


I realize that we eventually adapt to what we are exposed to, a flood of videos, pictures and advertisements that are now shoved in our faces and eventually we know where to find what we are looking for, so it may not be a problem for some.  I'm not saying I have ADHD, but even the UI on the 360 is waaaaaay too much for me.  I know a lot of people say they prefer the "Blades" design.  It is mentioned again and again.  And I agree with that.  It was clean and SIMPLE.  


There is a misconception that someone that likes simplicity is in some way anti-technology, that we don't want to move into the future, that we want to stay firmly planted in the past and not progress or that we are afraid of change.  Can't there be simplicity on the surface, with complexity under the surface?  Is that impossible?  I don't think it is.  I think Apple designers have achieved this in many ways with some of their products.  


This isn't just limited to the console UI's though.   I used to teach at a college in Colorado and a technical trade school for Microsoft Office programs for professionals, and among the classes I taught were Excel and Access.  These programs too have swelled over the years and are way more complicated than they need to be.  I've always felt that they should make a light version of each.  Let the professionals have their convoluted style (because if you start paring down the options after-the-fact, someone is going to miss some teensy feature that 98% of the rest of us wouldn't even notice was taken out)  But for the regular everyday people that would like to make use of a more simplified version, they could have that.  THE OLD EXCEL and ACCESS worked GREAT!!!  Why, why did it need to turn into a bloated mess?


Are the console interface of today turning into a bloated mess?  Does the Xbox One have so much going on that you feel overwhelmed and miss the days of the simpler interface?  Why do some designers think that a complete UI overhaul is necessary when simple tweaks here and there would have been the better option?  


Discussion Info

Last updated July 4, 2018 Views 0 Applies to:

Microsoft has a history of bloatware . All their operating systems suffer from the same conditions . All we can hope for is they see it is over done with unnecessary applications and under done with the applications we want.

I dunno I find x1 ui extremely simple. Everything I use pinned to the left doesn't get much simpler. I don't really see anything complex or bloated. To each his own I guess.

I also find it simple and easy to use. Some options are way too burred. Other than that it's great. I would have to disagree with this post as well.

Bloatware...yes...good word for it.  And it seems like it's happening with the X1 as well.

The UI is actually really simple. Its just not what people are use to. Ill admit at first I was confused and thought it was hard to use, but after playing around with it, it is easy

I like the Xbox One UI, but then again I do own a Windows Phone and I have Windows 8 OS on all my computers. The Xbox One UI is easy to navigate and made even easier with voice commands.

I didn't one star you guys, fyi. lol

[quote user="x24hrs2livex"]

The UI is actually really simple. Its just not what people are use to. Ill admit at first I was confused and thought it was hard to use, but after playing around with it, it is easy

[/quote]I agree with 24. At first i was confused too but once you get used to it you notice that is better someway than the one in 360. I think the big change in the UI was to benefit Kinect voice commands .