Functional sophistication, not complexity

Some software companies add ever more features to their software as a way to differentiate it from its competitors. Lucinio Santos’ lengthy analysis of sophistication versus complexity includes this graphic:


An excellent example of simplification is the Microsoft Office ribbon. Many users who upgrade dislike the ribbon for months because of the sheer amount of GUI change it imposes, but the ribbon successfully simplifies and makes existing features more discoverable.

Incidentally, the Office ribbon was designed by a design team using generative design. I facilitated a ribbon-design project that used a team of developers Five Sketches™—a method that incorporates a generative design.