The factor, the feature, the element that makes customer experience work, comes from the customers themselves, from the desire to interact with a product that is easy to understand, intuitive, one that can accomplish the customer's jobs with ease, a product that has integrated simplicity into its core that it became the essence of the product itself.
"Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication."
— Leonardo da Vinci
But as intuitive as it is, simplicity is not easy to create, it requires strategy, careful execution and a way to measure its value.
Simplicity as a component of your product development strategy
Customer at the heart of what the product does will always be the best product strategy.
Any customer discovery will tell you that customers value simplicity. Simple offer discovery, simple on-boarding, simple payment ... simplicity must be a key component of our product development strategy.
Products will evolve towards complexity, if not managed properly, so it is not sufficient to have a plan to contain or remove complexity but it is very important to have a clear view on how to create simplicity from the beginning, a view that can be part of the overall product development strategy and permeate through all the team helping with communication, decision making, resource allocation and prioritisation.
Simplicity as a key product development philosophy
Whether we outsource or build in house, or we are part of a startup or a corporation, the team's culture should be one that allows for decisions and conscious efforts to incorporate and maintain simplicity in the product.
Corporations deal with complexity because how their businesses grew overtime, but in a time that customer experience is key for success, they have to allocate resources to deal with that complexity. It is not too late for them but it is greenfield and a great advantage for startups looking to create and deliver products to the market.
We should always have the customer in mind and simplicity as our key execution philosophy, prioritising simplicity even if this could add to development cost and timelines. It is not enough to remove complexity we must execute to integrate simplicity.
"To get simplicity you have to want it badly enough."
— Edward deBono
Simplicity as a core value of your product
If simplicity were easy to create all our products would have it, reality is that it requires effort and resources and hence it will compete with other product's features demanding those resources.
It sounds straight forward, then why more than often the integration of simplicity in our products is not prioritised and delayed to later phases of the product development. It's maybe because the perception of its value as compared to other features of the product.
If we were to consider simplicity as any other feature of our product development then it should be given a value that can be measured and tested in front of customers and like any other product feature the customer should have inputs into it and also has the last word when it comes to test and measure.
A good way to see simplicity, in the context of product development, is to consider it as any other product feature with its own value, a view of how it support the overall product strategy and a environment that support the team to execute on it.