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The Laws of Simplicity Go Mainstream.

There has been a boon of minimalist applications released for the Mac App Store and the App Store. Information Architects, Inc. has a great video to promote the release of their latest application, iA Writer for the Mac, that really sums up this trend the best.

Other applications similar to iA Writer include Ommwriter and WriteRoom.  They all have the same unique selling point; allowing the user to focus on their writing and avoid distractions.  While some of these applications may take the idea of simplicity too far, it is a trend I hope to see continue.

The simplest way to achieve simplicity is

through thoughtful reduction.”

-John Maeda

A strong influence of this trend in simplicity is mobile application design. As Luke Wroblewski advocates we should design for mobile first.  Designing for mobile first forces you to simplify, given the limited real-estate of mobile screens, naturally leading to better design choices.  A great example that Luke shares of this is the Southwest Airlines homepage vs their mobile interface.

Which user interface is easier to use? Mobile design forces simplicity.

Even Microsoft is jumping on the bandwagon of simplicity. If you are an Apple fan boy, you cannot deny that Microsoft’s Metro UI first introduced with Windows Phone 7 is a compelling masterpiece of user interface designα. And now Microsoft is bringing The Laws of Simplicity to the user interface of its next version of Windows.

Overall the evolution that is happening to graphical user interfaces is exciting. The feedback loop from mobile design to desktop design gives hope that there is much more innovation to come. The greatest benefit of this will hopefully be a stronger trend in the understanding of the role of simplicity in design beyond the offices at 1 Infinite Loop.


  1. Even John Gruber of Daring Fireball was compelled to praise Microsoft