In Defense Of Hard: Over-Simplification In Society And Growing Through Challenge

Design technologist P.J. Onori examines the simple and the complex, and explains that if you expect more of your audience, you will end up with both a better audience and a better product.

Design technologist P.J. Onori’s article In Defense of Hard examines over-simplification in society and encourages designers to expect more from their audiences if they want to see better results. Guiding audiences through hard-to-understand concepts allows them to learn and grow. Noting how we tend to stray from these sorts of challenges, Onori points to legacy.com. The site writes your condolences—something that is meant to be time-consuming and hard—for you. But allowing people to dodge difficult tasks such as these ultimately robs them of personal experiences and opportunities for growth.

Onori encourages designers to challenge people and not to avoid subjects that are complex, but rather to articulate why they are important. This will result in an audience that is more “engaged, informed, and self-sufficient”. He also gives some examples of successful and complex companies and products, including TED conferences and talks, the radio show that asks the big science and philosophy questions; Radiolab, complicated puzzle video game Portal/Portal 2, and Adobe’s photo management software Lightroom.

In Defense of Hard

Image by Paulgi

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