October 8, 2007

Interactive, Simplistic Design

This post was last updated on September 5th, 2011 at 11:05 am

UPS Whiteboard

Cathy Nelson alerted me to this site via twitter and being that I’ve been immersed in my K12 presentation on design, I  began to consider why this works.

As Cathy alludes to, it’s very familiar format. Reminds me of a combination of the Apple ads and Lee LeFever’s plain English explanation videos of web 2.0 tools and concepts. There are certainly many similarities and I’m not sure which came first but there are some important design elements that make these effective communication. The common elements include:

  • Whitespace…both literally in the use of a plain white background but also negative space which focuses the ideas.No distractions, just you and the ideas.
  • Personal touch…with all the ability we have in technology to automate and create very slick interfaces and interactions, we are still drawn to people just talking; talking like they’re your friend, not a sales person. He’s not wearing a suit and tie, just a regular guy talking to regular people.
  • Simple messages….using familiar tools and approaches to convey ideas.  Pen and a white board.

I think this is a trend we’ll be seeing more and more. Simple is good. But the use of complex tools such as flash (as used in the UPS ads) enables slick interactivity. The average user still struggles with creating visually interactive work of this nature but as with most things, these tools will become more prevalent.  The key is for us to examine the simple, clean nature of these experiences and never lose sight of the importance of clear, concise communication.  Show kids these sites as examples of effective communication techniques.

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