Alright ladies and gentlemen I’ll be on a roll today! We’re gonna dive into Jakob Nielsen‘s 8th heuristic, Aesthetic and Minimalist Design. For this post, I’ll be using the new Google Accounts Manager.
OK, so recap:
Aesthetic and minimalist design
“Dialogues should not contain information which is irrelevant or rarely needed. Every extra unit of information in a dialogue competes with the relevant units of information and diminishes their relative visibility. “
Guys and gals, keep it simple. Don’t feed users more info than they need…meaning DON’T GIVE A HUGE PARAGRAPH EXPLANATION IF IT’S NOT NEEDED. In fact, if you don’t need to explain it because it’s intuitive then don’t explain it! Saying “Create an Account” on a button is a good example.
In this blurb I spoke about the old Google Mail sign in (which was well done!). Let’s take a look at the new Google Accounts:
“What? That’s it? Just a box, a few links, and some icons? Where’s the pizazz?”
Yes that’s it! Google expertly designed this page to maximize its use and minimize the useless clutter. Within a few seconds I registered exactly what this page was (Google account login), what it was for (logging in to Google Accounts), what I could do(Login, create a new account, ask for help), and what it affected (Google, Gmail, Drive, YouTube, Maps, Play, +). The most important item is emphasized in middle of the empty white like a full moon in a cloudless sky: The sign in box. Everything here is needed, with the absence of the clutter!
So, the importance?
“But what about all the cool things and the explanat-”
That’s just distracting to users! Users access an interface with a goal in mind. They are there for a reason. As a designer, it’s important that you understand that users have their goals set in mind and that you need to understand those goals. A user wants a new email in Gmail, so what does he do? He clicks on create an account! He doesn’t need a paragraph long essay of how Gmail may work, nor does he need the coolest flip function when he clicks the link. He just wants to make an account. Even the coolest design or most well-elaborated explanation is utterly useless if a user can’t reach his or her goal.
——User First, Designer Second——