What you’ll learn

Practical advice you can use. Inspiring examples you can share.

NEW! Working with stakeholders

Work with stakeholders to keep them on board with simplicity. How do prevent ‘design by committee’ and requests for ‘just one more feature’.

Simplify anything

The clever strategies and timeless concepts in Simple and Usable are relevant to you—no matter what you’re simplifying.

Go beyond ‘cutting features’

Cutting features and content doesn’t always make for simplicity. You’ll discover other strategies which can be faster, more efficient, and more effective.

Two simplicity mindsets

A reliable way to categorise users by their behavior, and what works best when you’re designing for each type of user.

Overcome objections

Fear of change can paralyse decision makers. You’ll learn how to open their minds to change, overcome their fears, and embrace new approaches.

Selling simplicity

Customers want simplicity, but selling it takes a radical approach. Help you sales team change their pitch to be unique and effective.

What people are saying

Praise for Simple and Usable

Whether you’re new to design or a long-time practitioner, this book should be in your library. Simple and Usable offers a clear perspective on design that can be easily understood and repeated. This book is designed deliberately to offer more than words but to create an experience. Read it. Learn it. Live it.

Adam Polanski

Think things have to be complicated to be powerful? Think again.

In this clear, compelling (and beautiful) book, Giles Colborne makes the argument for simplicity. He shows us design as a process of thoughtfully crafting a product that is just simple enough.

Whitney Quesenbery

Take a look inside...

In short, easy to read chapters, Simple and Usable tackles the most familiar and frustrating problems you face during the design process.

  • Table of contents
  • The power of simplicity
  • Alignment
  • Errors
  • Alphabets

Part 1: Why are we here?

  • A story about simplicity
  • The power of simplicity
  • Increasing complexity is unsustainable
  • Fake simplicity
  • Things fall apart
  • Elegant simplicity
  • Not that kind of simple
  • Character
  • Be single-minded

Part 2: Setting a vision

  • Making sense of the muddle
  • Alignment
  • Get out of your office
  • What to look for
  • Three types of users
  • Why you should ignore expert customers
  • Design for the mainstream
  • What mainstreamers want
  • Deeper needs
  • Branding simplicity
  • Simplicity is about control
  • Choosing the right “what”
  • Describing the user experience
  • Putting it all together
  • World, character, plot
  • Extreme usability
  • The quick and dirty way
  • Insight
  • Getting the right vision
  • Share it

Part 3: Strategies for simplicity

  • The change curve
  • Vision and strategy
  • The simple equation behind every business
  • Breaking free of “quick wins”
  • Small steps to big changes
  • Sweating the details
  • Simplify this
  • The remote control
  • The four strategies

Part 4: Remove

  • Remove
  • What not to cut
  • Find what’s core
  • Kill lame features
  • What if the user…?
  • But our customers want it
  • Features that trigger errors
  • Errors
  • When features don’t matter
  • Will it hurt?
  • Prioritizing features
  • Load
  • Decisions
  • Distractions
  • Smart defaults
  • Options and preferences
  • When one option is too many
  • Visual clutter
  • Removing words
  • Simplifying sentences
  • Conversation
  • Cutting time
  • Removing too much
  • You can do it
  • Focus

Part 5: Organize

  • Organize
  • Chunking
  • Organizing for behavior
  • Hard edges
  • Alphabets, popularity, and formats
  • Patterns and anchoring
  • Search
  • Time and space
  • Grids
  • Size and location
  • Layers
  • Color coding
  • Desire paths

Part 6: Hide

  • Hide
  • Infrequent but necessary
  • Customizing
  • Automatic customization
  • Progressive disclosure
  • Staged disclosure
  • X doesn’t mark the spot
  • Cues and clues
  • Making things easy to find
  • After you hide

Part 7: Displace

  • Displace
  • Displacing between devices
  • Desktop vs. mobile vs. wearable
  • Designing for multiple devices
  • Displacing to the user
  • What users do best
  • Notifications and interruptions
  • Creating open experiences
  • Kitchen knives and pianos
  • Unstructured data
  • Trust

Part 8: Before we go

  • Conservation of complexity
  • “Let the user be the star
  • Bringing people with you
  • Simplicity is a profound strategy


Photo Credits


About Giles Colborne

Giles Colborne

Giles Colborne has been designing interactive user experiences since the early 1990s and it’s about time he did something useful like writing a book.

When he’s not doing that he he’s busy with cxpartners, the design consultancy he founded that helps some of the worlds most famous companies work better by creating services that customers love.

Join the simplicity revolution

Focus your app, website, or online service on what matters and you’ll build something powerful, popular, and iconic. Buy Simple and usable today.

Print and Kindle editions available.