Don’t oversimplify, just be confident and clear

Simplification might seem like the best way to improve engagement, but it’s a tricky business.

In order to simplify something, you have to identify the essential and remove everything else. 

This might sound straightforward, but the boundary between ‘essential’ and ‘everything else’ changes all the time and is complicated when you’re communicating to a diverse audience. It’s also complicated when the subject has many features and potential uses, or a variety of implementations that differ depending on the context. 

Simple is, well, simplistic. 

It’s underwhelming and it can be misleading. 

Creating surface-level simplicity is counterproductive and deceptive if, on engagement, the user discovers complexity that lurks at the next level. 

Simplifying your information can often seem like you’re pandering to your audience, reflecting what you think is most important to them and trying to align with that. There’s a good reason that research plays a central role in almost everything we do.

Your audience wants to understand your product or service and what it can do for them. So, rather than being pandered to, they want the information they need to make their own decisions. Decisions they want to make quickly and confidently. 

This shouldn’t be a problem because you’re presenting the truth of your business, product and services. However, obfuscation happens more commonly by accident than design. 

Many companies fail to communicate clearly, either because they simplify the messaging to the point that it becomes misleading or because they stick with complexity as the only way to do justice to the business, products and services – and leave nothing out.

You have a product or service that you are proud of, so be confident and clear in describing it.

Clarity doesn’t demand a drastic reduction in the information, but an improvement in the delivery of the information. It must be easy to engage with and easy to comprehend. Clarity gives your audience what they need to understand, process and react.

It doesn’t require a pretence of simplicity. 

Be clear, concise and consistent and your audience will respond.

George Orwell’s six rules for writing always helps us to consider whether we’re being as clear as we possibly can. Take a look at this article on Medium about his six rules for more information.

If you’re interested in work where we employed this principle, this case study will give you some insight.

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Sophie Whyte

Junior Strategist


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