Recently I have been hearing a lot of talk within large companies about the creation of beautiful experiences for their customers and as a UX strategist, I listen closely when people mention anything to do with creating beautiful experience. In the coarse of these conversations it’s only natural that we try to define what a beautiful experience is in order to measure success. This is where I hear things like “make it simple” and “remove clicks.” There is nothing wrong with wanting to make someone’s experience simple, but when you start with research methodologies and dive into the human-centered problem then we quickly come to the realization that what people want is clarity over simplicity.

Since I have been doing a lot of holiday shopping lately let’s look at Amazon checkout as an example. Sticking with the idea of simplicity being less steps and clicks, Amazon has a one click buy option. There is no doubt that this is convenient, but it’s not entirely simple. There are additional options to changing the shipping address. This adds a little complexity when it’s comes to our idea of simple. However, this adds the far more valuable attribute of clarity. Seeing the shipping address adds clarity and makes me more likely to click the buy button due to my added confidence provided by the clarity of the transaction.

Now let’s get a little more granular. Looking at the labeling of the buy button…wait, there two buy buttons. When it comes to classic simplicity of design having two buy buttons is absolutely wrong. In the case of Amazon there was a specific choice made to favor clarity when we look at the labeling of the two different buy buttons. One button is to buy with one click, which will take you to the checkout process directly and the other button adds the item to your cart, so we can continue shopping. Both buttons answer very specific needs/scenarios and the clarity communicated through the labeling of the button adds the value to the checkout experience. If there was only one button and it took you to checkout directly Amazon will start to lose revenue on additional purchases. However, only having the ability to add to your cart would force me to click again to checkout. Adding two buttons actually takes away an additional click and the clarity added by the clear labeling of your two main options allows this to work in order to buy a product. Thus the experience goal should be to add clarity and simplicity will follow naturally.

When working on our next UX challenge let’s try for that moment of clarity in order to keep our lives simple.

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