Design psychology: why opting for less is so difficult for us

Whenever people want to improve something, they first make it more complicated. Leidy Klotz explains why less would be more in a video clip. The author of Subtract and speaker at the 18th European Trend Day shows that this newly discovered psychological phenomenon applies to many situations.
3 February, 2022 by
Design-Psychologie: Warum das Weniger für uns so schwierig ist
GDI Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute

Whether it be programmers who want to improve their software, or authors who want to support their arguments: when people try to solve problems, they look for additional features, options or even sentences. We don’t tend to remove a certain component to make something better or more functional.

Leidy Klotz is an engineer and is fascinated by design psychology. ‘A good example of this is running bikes – bicycles without pedals – that even two-year-olds can ride,’ he says. It took decades for someone to come up with the idea of removing the pedals from children’s bikes instead of adding support wheels.

Nevertheless, the mindset of ‘less is more’ goes far back in human history. ‘Leonardo Da Vinci’s definition of perfection is the state in which there is nothing left that could be removed,’ says Klotz. And yet we tend to go against this way of thinking. Leidy Klotz has worked with a team of behavioural scientists to study this phenomenon. You can watch their results in the video:

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