Simple product design is about removing the forces that block users

Kate Clayton wrote an excellent essay on simplicity in design that goes way beyond the usual platitudes. From Be an Elegant Simplifier:

When I saw Danny Kahneman speak at a meeting last year, he shared a similar principle to the Crystal Goblet he took from psychologist Kurt Lewin, who, like Beatrice Warde, was active in the 1930s. Imagine, Lewin said, you have an object with forces pushing against it from opposite sides. Human nature would say if you want it to move one way, add more force to one side. But Lewin advised against this. A much stronger solution, Kahneman said, is to remove the force blocking the user’s way. Eliminate some of the muck.

This principle is very close to the product forces concept of Jobs-to-be-Done, and it’s great to see it framed from a slightly different perspective.