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The Zero Interface: Using Zero-based Thinking to Maintain Simplicity (FOWD London 2014)

Stephen Hay
April 08, 2014

The Zero Interface: Using Zero-based Thinking to Maintain Simplicity (FOWD London 2014)

My talk for Future of Web Design London, 2014. Simplicity is not only removing the non-essential, it's also about not adding the non-essential in the first place.

Stephen Hay

April 08, 2014
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  1. The
    Zero
    Interface Using Zero-based Thinking
    to Maintain Simplicity
    Stephen Hay Future of Web Design, London 2014

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  2. It’s often said that simplicity
    is a matter of removing the unnecessary.
    Another approach might be
    not to add the unnecessary in the first place.

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  3. Rube Goldberg
    (adjective)

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  4. image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rube_Goldberg_machine

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  5. accomplishing by complex means what
    seemingly could be done simply.
    image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rube_Goldberg_machine

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  6. Between A & B
    (among other things):

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  7. Between A & B
    (among other things):
    Processes (both concept and interaction)

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  8. Between A & B
    (among other things):
    Processes (both concept and interaction)
    The UI itself

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  9. Between A & B
    (among other things):
    Processes (both concept and interaction)
    The UI itself
    Technical implementation

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  10. Between A & B
    (among other things):
    Processes (both concept and interaction)
    The UI itself
    Technical implementation
    These are all the result of design decisions.

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  11. source: http://badusability.com/3-simple-steps-to-qr-code-joy/

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  12. source: http://badusability.com/3-simple-steps-to-qr-code-joy/

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  13. source: http://wtfmobileweb.com/

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  14. This can be simpler…

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  15. Not being able to do something
    in a particular browser
    is not a browser problem.
    It’s a design problem.

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  16. Transfer lots of money

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  17. Transfer lots of money
    A button.

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  18. Transfer lots of money
    A button.
    But it’s not.

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  19. Transfer lots of money
    A button.
    But it’s not.
    It’s a link.

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  20. Transfer lots of money
    A button.
    But it’s not.
    It’s a link.
    Made to look like a button.

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  21. Transfer lots of money
    A button.
    But it’s not.
    It’s a link.
    Made to look like a button.
    But it links to nowhere.

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  22. Transfer lots of money
    A button.
    But it’s not.
    It’s a link.
    Made to look like a button.
    But it links to nowhere.
    It’s JavaScript (and click) dependent.

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  23. Transfer lots of money
    A button.
    But it’s not.
    It’s a link.
    Made to look like a button.
    But it links to nowhere.
    It’s JavaScript (and click) dependent.
    It’s insane.

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  24. Look at how they managed
    to complicate things so
    effectively.

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  25. Look at how they managed
    to complicate things so
    effectively.
    1. Make a link.

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  26. Look at how they managed
    to complicate things so
    effectively.
    1. Make a link.
    2. Style it to look like a button.

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  27. Look at how they managed
    to complicate things so
    effectively.
    1. Make a link.
    2. Style it to look like a button.
    3. Add JavaScript to make it act like a button.

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  28. Look at how they managed
    to complicate things so
    effectively.
    1. Make a link.
    2. Style it to look like a button.
    3. Add JavaScript to make it act like a button.
    4. Reduce complexity by not testing.

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  29. Look at how they could
    have done it.

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  30. Look at how they could
    have done it.
    1. Make a button, with the element.
    2. Style it.

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  31. A breakpoint.
    article {
    width: 60%;
    float: left;
    }
    aside {
    width: 40%;
    float: right;
    }
    @media screen and (max-width: 900px) {
    article,
    aside {
    width: 100%;
    float: none;
    }
    }

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  32. A breakpoint.
    article {
    width: 60%;
    float: left;
    }
    aside {
    width: 40%;
    float: right;
    }
    @media screen and (max-width: 900px) {
    article,
    aside {
    width: 100%;
    float: none;
    }
    }
    You’ve got to be kidding.

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  33. A breakpoint.
    article {
    width: 60%;
    float: left;
    }
    aside {
    width: 40%;
    float: right;
    }
    @media screen and (max-width: 900px) {
    article,
    aside {
    width: 100%;
    float: none;
    }
    }
    You’ve got to be kidding.

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  34. Look at how they managed
    to complicate things so
    effectively.

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  35. Look at how they managed
    to complicate things so
    effectively.
    1. Style article and aside as columns.

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  36. Look at how they managed
    to complicate things so
    effectively.
    1. Style article and aside as columns.
    2. Use media query to undo what we just did.

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  37. Look at how they could
    have done it.
    @media screen and (min-width: 900px) {
    article {
    width: 60%;
    float: left;
    }
    aside {
    width: 40%;
    float: right;
    }
    }

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  38. Look at how they could
    have done it.
    @media screen and (min-width: 900px) {
    article {
    width: 60%;
    float: left;
    }
    aside {
    width: 40%;
    float: right;
    }
    }
    article {
    width: 60
    float: le
    }
    aside {
    width: 40
    float: ri
    }
    @media screen
    article,
    aside {
    width
    float
    }
    }

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  39. Again:
    Processes (both concept and interaction)
    The UI itself
    Technical implementation

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  40. There’s a difference between
    simple and simple-looking.

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  41. source: http://ux.stackexchange.com/questions/11660/why-do-people-clear-the-screen-multiple-times-when-using-a-calculator

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  42. source: http://ux.stackexchange.com/questions/11660/why-do-people-clear-the-screen-multiple-times-when-using-a-calculator

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  43. source: http://exisweb.net/menu-eats-hamburger

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  44. Simple doesn’t mean stupid.
    (And complex doesn’t mean smart.)

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  45. Simple doesn’t mean stupid.
    (And complex doesn’t mean smart.)
    We don’t need to Fisher-Price our designs.

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  46. Simple doesn’t mean stupid.
    (And complex doesn’t mean smart.)
    We don’t need to Fisher-Price our designs.
    We also don’t need to make less of a product.

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  47. How does complexity happen?

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  48. How does complexity happen?
    Sometimes, by adding to something simple.
    Most often, by starting with too much.

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  49. The simplest way to achieve
    simplicity is through
    thoughtful reduction.
    — John Maeda, The Laws of Simplicity (Law 1)

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  50. but…
    If you don’t add it, you don’t have to remove it.

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  51. The other simplest way to
    achieve simplicity is by
    not complicating things
    in the first place.
    — Not John Maeda

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  52. The first website still works
    because nothing was added
    that can break it.

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  53. The first website still works
    because nothing was added
    that can break it.
    source: http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html

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  54. Zero-based budgeting

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  55. Zero-based budgeting
    source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-based_budgeting

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  56. Zero-based budgeting
    requires the budget request be re-evaluated
    thoroughly, starting from the zero-base.
    Budget history is ignored.
    source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-based_budgeting

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  57. Zero Interface

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  58. Zero Interface
    requires the user experience be designed
    starting from the zero-base.
    Design baggage is ignored.

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  59. So, what’s design baggage?

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  60. So, what’s design baggage?
    The stuff clients, designers, and developers
    add to the project without careful evaluation
    against the goal of A to B.

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  61. Examples of client baggage

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  62. Examples of client baggage
    Refusal to understand or accept sunk costs

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  63. Examples of client baggage
    Refusal to understand or accept sunk costs
    Competitor patterns

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  64. Examples of client baggage
    Refusal to understand or accept sunk costs
    Competitor patterns
    Carousels

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  65. Examples of
    designer/developer baggage

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  66. Examples of
    designer/developer baggage
    Trends

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  67. Examples of
    designer/developer baggage
    Trends
    Pattern libraries

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  68. Examples of
    designer/developer baggage
    Trends
    Pattern libraries
    Frameworks

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  69. Examples of
    designer/developer baggage
    Trends
    Pattern libraries
    Frameworks
    Conventional wisdom

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  70. The problem with baggage is
    that all of it is focused on
    existing solutions.

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  71. Stop focusing on existing
    solutions and start focusing on
    the problem at hand.

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  72. How can we achieve
    simplicity?

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  73. 1.
    Start with nothing.

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  74. 2.
    Put each thing
    you add through
    Hell Week.
    Every step you add
    is one too many
    by default.

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  75. 3.
    Stop.
    Refine if necessary.

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  76. Zero Interface
    Think, done. A to B.

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  77. Beware of too easy.
    Put on the brakes for users when needed.

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  78. Oh, wait…
    Going directly from A to B is great, but give
    people a chance to avoid mistakes.

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  79. By focusing on the Simplicity
    of the target behavior you
    increase Ability.
    — BJ Fogg, behaviormodel.org

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  80. Hey, this all sounds like
    progressive enhancement.
    It is.

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  81. Thank you!
    @stephenhay
    zerointerface.nl
    the-haystack.com
    responsivedesignworkflow.com

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