Great Scientist Albert Einstein once quoted that “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” That’s exactly can be particularly explained through KISS Principal.
KISS stands for:
K – Keep
I – It
S – Simple
S – Stupid
It states that a system works at its best if it is made up of simple designs rather than the complex ones. It’s applicable to everything, from a mathematical equation to a fully functional product. The end-user doesn’t care that how smart the designer or creator of the product is, all they care about how useful that person’s output for their own lives.
The simpler the creation or explanation is, the simpler will be the product and its output will more likely be useful to others. Complex things whether explanations or products tend to turn people away.
The principle doesn’t imply stupidity in any way rather it implies that many intelligent systems have been misunderstood as stupid because of their simplicity.
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The KISS principle was first coined by Late Kelly Johnson in mid-1900s while she was working as an engineer on Lockheed Martin’s advanced aircraft development program at Lockheed Skunk Works.
At that time, Johnson was designing simple repair systems using skills and tools which are used by average mechanics.
The idea behind this principle is that she wants her designers to make everything simple enough that even a field man with simple tools and basic mechanical skills can repair it.
Today KISS principle is celebrated in many engineering professions (including hi-tech software engineering) as well as in teaching, training etc.
KISS Principle – The Fundamental Usability Principle:
Although the KISS principle was never presented as usability principle, it is a fundamental usability principle for product designing. It basically focuses on the concept that, if you can’t understand a product completely, you could never be able to use it properly. And if the product is made to gain the maximum share in the market, then the broadest possible audience must be able to understand it. And that principle implies to everything from fighter planes to mobile applications.
Note of Caution:
While applying KISS principle you need to be mindful about a few things. When we are suggesting that simplicity is something that user wants, it should not in any way interfere with the design objective. It should ensure that the user is able to effectively finish the required tasks using the finished product. If not, it simply means that the design process is failed completely. In that case, it doesn’t matter how simple your design is if a product is failing in resolving the issues for which it is made.
Simplicity is considered a key designing principle. The simpler the product is to understand and use, the more likely it is to be used by a wider range of audience. Therefore, it is recommended to apply KISS (keep it simple stupid) principle to your designing keeping the wider context of usage in mind. However, you also need to consider that the simplicity of the design should not in any way compromise with the functionality of the final product/design. Users can deal with complex designs if it is enhancing their user experience.