Everyone in my organization wants to make our products & website as simple as possible for our customers. My concern is that "simple" means different things to different people.

I'm looking for a definition of cognitive simplicity (or complexity) that diverse stakeholders (including corporate strategists, product owners, & especially web designers) can agree on. The more research that supports this definition, the better it will work for my stakeholders. (I am not concerned with computational complexity or the complexity studied by the Santa Fe Institute.)

The only research-based attempt I've found to create a definition of simplicity / complexity comes from Simon Collinson & Melvin Jay in their 2012 book "From Complexity to Simplicity: Unleash Your Organisation's Potential." They base their book on research concerning the corporate effectiveness of 100s of companies.

I believe they have a good definition, but I'm not sure it's the best for diverse audience:

Complexity = the number of components in a system + the variety of relationships between these components + the pace of change of both the components and the these relationships.

Has anyone seen a another good definition of simplicity or complexity that might appeal to corporate strategists, product owners, & web designers?

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    $\begingroup$ This is... a complex question. If you are looking for a "number for corporate strategists" then invent anything, it won't have sense anyway. To have something which make more sense, try looking at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychology_of_art#Complexity_2. But for a website, I would look at time that it takes for a user to accomplish what they want. (It is not only about number of elements, but also - if they are put in meaningful/intuitive places.) Of course it cannot be done without measurement (but you can have some intuitions behind it). $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 29, 2014 at 18:22
  • $\begingroup$ Plus, scholar.google.com with cognitive complexity "website design" yield in some potentially interesting results. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 29, 2014 at 18:34


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