In 2011 Jason Fried wrote a wonderful blog post entitled “The Obvious, the Easy, and the Possible” where he talked about balancing the obvious, the easy, and the possible within digital projects.
Obvious is all about always. The thing(s) people do all the time, the always stuff, should be obvious. The core, the epicenter, the essence of the product should be obvious.
Beyond obvious, you’ll find easy. The things that should be easy are the things that people do frequently, but not always.
And finally are the things that are possible. These are things people do sometimes. Rarely, even. So they don’t need to be front and center, but they need to be possible.
Here’s a vanilla instance of WordPress Core:
When I look at this screen through the filter of obvious/easy/possible, One section of links stands out:
How often would you say most people are interacting with this particular set of links? In general are they links people interact with always, frequently, or just sometimes?
My assessment is that these are links that most people only sometimes interact with. As such, I wonder if it makes sense to have them showing all of the time.
If we made them less obvious, but still possible, how would this impact cognitive load during daily usage? Let’s take a look:
That’s quite a few less links showing by default.
Where would all of these links go? What if they formed an extendable landing page that exposed all of the links previously in the left nav?
This is a really rough mockup, reusing the collapsable dashboard component.
I don’t do comments on this site, but if you have thoughts, I’d love to hear them. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.