Achieving Psychological Simplicity: Measures and Methods to Reduce Cognitive Complexity
In this chapter, we explain why psychological complexity is (or should be) of interest to the designers of human-computer systems. We then distinguish between intrinsic complexity and undue complexity. We presume that undue complexity is generally (but not universally) counterproductive in that it leads to more errors, frustration, and greater task completion times. Generally, these are all things to be avoided in a work-oriented context. In a more aesthetic, recreational, or pleasure-oriented context, however, increased psychological complexity can often be desirable. We then examine the sources of undue complexity. We hypothesize that undue complexity can arise in the following three ways: (1) intentionally, (2) through incompetence, or (3) most commonly, as an unintended side effect of normal socialization processes.