4 responses to “UI Complexity Increases Exponentially”

  1. (Tweeted October 28, 2008)
    The converse of this: Whenever you remove a feature from an interface, it’s more like removing two or three things from the pile of stuff users need to think about.

    It’s like juggling (I am a juggler, by the way): Handling one ball is dead easy — most people can do this without thinking. Throwing two balls from hand to hand is actually much harder and usually requires at least few minutes or even hours of practice to get right. Three is way harder and can take many weeks to learn.

  2. Is this conjecture? Or do you have experiments/studies, etc??

    Just curious 🙂

  3. sounds plausible, but there’s a problem with your math.
    2×2 = 4. 2x2x2x2=16. so 4 features are 4 times more complex than 2.

  4. @twhid: I pulled it out of my ass.

    @felix: Good point, but I believe that “exponentially” doesn’t necessarily mean a pure exponent needs to be used.

    Actually, I would describe this more like an S-curve (a logistic growth pattern). It increases logarithmically at first, but then flattens out after a while. one button is simple, two buttons is a little more complex, four buttons is waay more complex, etc. But when you get up to fifty buttons, for example, adding one more doesn’t raise the level of complexity too much, I think.