The KIS Principle

Most of us are familiar with the KIS (Keep It Simple) principle. In a time of ever-increasing complexity, it applies more than ever … especially to technology.

KIS applies to developers: those people who create the devices, apps, and webpages for the rest of us. Please hear us: we don’t want to be overwhelmed with options that we don’t use, or don’t use often. Please keep the interface logical and uncluttered, and put the settings in a place we can easily access. Default settings are just as important as any other aspect of your design.

KIS applies to heavy tech users. You may not be overwhelmed with tech complexity, but keeping it simple now will reduce your tech headaches in the future. Is some of your tech redundant or underused? Some redundancy is critical (e.g. backups), but otherwise, it can become clutter.

KIS applies to light tech users. Keep it to one or two operating systems (Windows, Android, Mac, iOS, Linux, Chrome): they may be compatible with each other, but each one works with a different set of rules and apps. Consider task-specific gadgets like a Roku or Chromebox rather than a full-blown multimedia desktop.

KIS may look different to different people. For some, a print-only USB printer may be the simple answer, but for others, a wifi multifunction printer may tick all the boxes. In some cases, a computer is needed; in others, a tablet is sufficient. Get the right tool for the job.

A debatable example is Mac vs. PC: Macs limit your options, which some would consider KIS-friendly. However, non-Mac users (note that Mac accounts for less than 10% of the operating system market) frequently find the Mac environment overly restrictive and controlling.

If everyone keeps the KIS principle in mind in everything we do, maybe we can slow the exponential growth of the complexity of our world, and reduce the anxiety of its inhabitants.