Oliver is a designer and founder of Information Architects iA, well known for its unique design signature of simplicity and beauty. iA also makes iAWriter, the best selling writing app that's powerful but doesn't get in the way of what matters most: content.
The Art of Reduction
Where is the limit between too much and not enough reduction? How do you know if you went too far or not far enough? The question "How much reduction is enough" is almost congruent with "What is essential?" It is not easy but still possible to answer the question of essence for one selves. I know what is essential for myself. Those who create products for a wider audience have to find a way to connect with the audience at some point in the process. Now, if you ask too many people what they want, you won't be able to create anything new or substantially different.
People lack imagination. So what can we do? You might get a better idea of the right amount of reduction if you find a balance between openness and determination in the exchange with your target audience. Fair enough, only: how do we find that balance? It is safe to assume that this chain of questions in search of a formula for reduction won't ever stop. From experience I know this much for sure though: Reduction is not just a matter of vision and determination. The right amount of reduction is found in a movement of approximation, it is never achieved, but infinitesimally approached, in smaller and smaller steps.