ARTICLE SUMMARY: “TO ADD IS EXPECTED, TO SUBTRACT IS DESIGN” is primarily about the health care system, but, the same point of this article can be applied to web design as well.

Kim Bellard discusses why problem solvers are quick to use add ons for a solution to a problem rather than using subtraction. Kim points out “that that people systematically default to searching for additive transformations, and consequently overlook subtractive transformations.” Kim thinks that some designers may feel

  • Subtractive solutions may feel less creative
  • People don’t get paid for removing features
  • Physiologically, when it comes to improvements people would rather add than subtract.

This article should give pause to the thinking that “bigger is better” and encourages the “less is more” option. As designers we should avoid getting in a rut when it comes to finding solutions and be open minded enough to try what might be considered absurd.

As Kim points out “We might ooh and ahh over a cool design, but what’s more awesome is design that takes away what you don’t really need.”

Let us know what you think in the comments.