Making Ideas Simple (and useful)

Every day lots of data and information are tossed at us relentlessly. Sometimes it’s difficult to decipher it, to make sense of it and understand what it is or what it does or how it can be of use to us.

But there’s an opportunity there as well. It’s in taking those complexities and making them easier to understand (for someone who doesn’t).

For example, I was shopping for a new laptop recently and overheard the salesperson telling a nice lady about a computer she was looking at. He walked up and starting saying how it had 6 mega bytes of RAM, 500 giga bytes of hard drive space, an Intel Quad-Core chip, etc. etc. As I listened to him rattle off the technical stats, I glanced over and saw the lady’s face start to glaze over… and at that moment she interrupted him and said,

“But what does all that mean?”

You see, the salesman started out by trying to sell her on the features. In this case, data and stats and mega whatever’s sounded impressive but meant little to this lady. It was all over her head, complex and probably overwhelming.

He should have started with qualifying the customer (assessing her needs and level of understanding) and then aligning his pitch to match.

He should have asked her what she planned to do with her computer and then sold her on the simple aspects of function. She really just wanted to know, will this work? Is it a good computer that’s worth the money? Will it let me get on the internet and email my friends? Will it let me watch videos on Youtube and maybe make a spreadsheet or a calendar? Can I use it on the WiFi at Starbucks while sipping on my Vanilla Latte?

See the difference?

It’s not about dumbing things down. It’s about getting to the basics of what value someone might get out of something and starting there.

It’s about making ideas simple in a world that often isn’t.

Those who can do it will succeed.

What about you? What do you think about making ideas simple?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Alex S.

    Good points. I'm working on an infographic for my job and that's the question I'm asking my self… What value can this piece offer? I don't want to just list a bunch of facts (boring). It needs to function and be clear.

    • Thanks Alex. I'm a big fan of function over form. We want things to look good but they need to serve a purpose more so than just being shiny.