You're reading Sentences, etc., a design and development blog by Justin Michael.

Don't Dismiss Simple

When we work on things that require a lot of iterations, a lot of effort, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the final solution is going to reflect the complexity of the work required to produce it. In other words, it’s easy to think that complex work should produce a complex result.

This is a very dangerous mindset; the ideal solution could be sitting right in front of your face, but if it doesn’t look complex enough, you might dismiss it if you’re not being careful.

One of the most important things to keep in mind while working on a hard problem is that the road to simplicity is long, rough, and winding. Elegant and refined solutions are backed by a history littered with artifacts that are anything but. You have to be aware that, when it comes to design, your destination rarely resembles the path you travel to get there.

This is why breaks are so important. This is why sleeping on things is so important. A renewed mind and a fresh perspective helps reveal the fallacy of the thought that something is “too simple,” or seems too straightforward given how much work it took to produce.

Remember, the solution stands on it’s own. The end result is never going to sit side by side with the hundred iterations and a log of the hours it took to create. The effort and the final product, in many ways, have no relationship to one another. The final product either achieves the goals, or it doesn’t. It either achieves them well, or it doesn’t.

Do not judge your work solely through the lens of effort applied.