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Mother of all modular content: minimalism

by Wim on February 7th, 2012

Back to the roots. Sometimes it can be good to reflect the current state of technical communication by looking back at some principles that were formulated back in the eighties.

Minimalism is a design philosophy. Minimalism is a use-centered approach because its priority lies in supporting usage of an application. It is also a user-centered approach because it adapts to the audience as much as possible. The principles and heuristics of minimalism are not rules to be followed blindly or rigorously; they “merely” afford better designs. In addition, they work well only in combination with a thorough treatment of basic design issues such as context, audience and task analyses.

The four main design principles of minimalism are:

Choose an action-oriented approach.
Users typically want to do things. This principle reflects the use-centeredness of minimalism

Anchor the tool in the task domain.
A tool is a means to an end. This principle asks designers to select training tasks that are meaningful for the user.

Support error recognition and recovery.
To err is human. There are several ways to increase user competence and comfort levels in handling mistakes.

Support reading to do, study and locate.
Designs must fit as much as possible the diverging needs and propensities of the intended audience. This principle reflects the user-centeredness of minimalism.

This is a text, taken from the website of dr. Hans van der Meij, professor at Twente University, Faculty of Educational Science & Technology, Department of Instructional Technology.

Read the whole article: Minimalism


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