Tuesday, September 23, 2014

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough. (Albert Einstein)

I got my start as a tech writer. One thing I began to notice very early on – and be rather concerned about – was when I had to writes pages and pages explaining a particular feature. Was all this verbiage really necessary? Could the way that feature operates be made a little simpler?

At some point, I started going back to my developers and asking them about it. Sometimes, they ignored me. Sometimes, they took me seriously. And, sometimes, they actually tried to come up with something simpler and more elegant.

I then made the rather monumental decision of coming up with some ideas on my own and presenting them. These led to some pretty good discussions – and with some of my ideas actually getting implemented. Hmm, I said to myself, this is pretty cool!

In fact, a number of the developers I worked with started to expect something from me in the way of a solution. I guess it was just easier than coming up with something on their own. And that’s how I got started in this business.

So, I don’t know if I’m in total agreement with Einstein here. Yes, I do get his point. Sometimes, though, complex things need complex explanations. The question we have to ask ourselves, as UX professionals, is whether that complex thing needs to be quite as complex as it is. If we can make it simpler, not only will it be simpler to explain, but it will be easier for the user to understand and use. And isn’t that the real goal here?

No comments:

Post a Comment