Insightful post by Steven Sinofsky (of Andreessen Horowitz; before that, president of Microsoft’s Windows division). He writes at Learning by Shipping. Below are key highlights (I added the orange emphasis):
Frictionless and minimalism are related but not necessarily the same. Often they are conflated which can lead to design debates that are difficult to resolve.
A design can be minimal but still have a great deal of friction. The Linux command line interface is a great example of minimal design with high friction.
- Minimalist design is about reducing the surface area of an experience.
- Frictionless design is about reducing the energy required by an experience.
Therefore the real design challenge is not simply maintaining minimalism, but enhancing a product without adding more friction.
Low-Friction Design Patterns
Assuming you’re adding features to a product, the following are six design patterns to follow, each essentially reducing friction in your product. They cause the need to learn, consider, futz, or otherwise not race through the product to get something done.
- Decide on a default rather than options
- Create one path to a feature or task
- Offer personalization rather than customization
- Stick with changes you make
- Build features, not futzers
- Guess correctly all the time