The Art of Simplicity How Occam's Razor Elevates UX Design

Craig Barber
September 13, 2023
mins read

Today, we’re diving into the fascinating world of Occam’s Razor and exploring how this principle can be applied to the realm of UX and UI design.

Occam’s Razor is a valuable tool that guides designers to create intuitive and efficient user interfaces.

So, grab a cup of your favourite brew and let’s embark on this insightful journey!

What is Occam's Razor?

Understanding Occam's Razor

Before we delve into its application in UX design, let’s understand what Occam’s Razor actually is.

Named after the medieval philosopher William of Occam, this principle suggests that when faced with multiple explanations for a phenomenon, the simplest one is usually the correct one.

In other words, simplicity is often the key to solving complex problems.

“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Occam's Razor Explainer Video:

5 Examples of Applying Occam's Razor to UX and UI Design:

1. Streamlined Navigation

Streamlined Navigation​

When it comes to designing intuitive user interfaces, simplicity reigns supreme.

Occam’s Razor reminds us to avoid cluttered menus and convoluted navigation systems.

By keeping the number of steps and choices to a minimum, designers can create a seamless and delightful user experience.

Popular websites like Google and Airbnb excel in this area, employing clean, straightforward interfaces that allow users to find what they need effortlessly.

2. Minimalist Visuals

Minimalist Visuals​

The concept of Occam’s Razor extends beyond navigation and into visual design.

A cluttered and overwhelming interface can confuse and frustrate users.

By embracing minimalist design principles, UX designers can focus on the essential elements and eliminate unnecessary visual noise.

Take Apple’s iconic product designs, for example.

Their minimalist approach creates an elegant and user-friendly experience that places emphasis on the core features and functionalities.

“Good design is as little design as possible”.
Dieter Rams

3. Clear and Concise Messaging

Clear and Concise Messaging​

Effective communication lies at the heart of user experience.

Occam’s Razor emphasises the importance of clear and concise messaging, allowing users to understand the purpose and functionality of an interface effortlessly.

By using straightforward language, eliminating jargon, and providing concise instructions, designers can ensure that users comprehend and interact with their products seamlessly.

4. Streamlined Forms and Inputs

Streamlined Forms and Inputs​

Online forms are a crucial aspect of many digital experiences.

Applying Occam’s Razor to form design means keeping things simple and concise.

By minimizing the number of fields, pre-filling information when possible, and providing helpful input validation, designers can reduce friction and increase completion rates.

Services like Typeform excel in simplifying complex forms, creating a user-friendly experience that feels effortless.

5. Reducing Cognitive Load

Reducing Cognitive Load​

Occam’s Razor advises designers to minimise the cognitive load on users by eliminating unnecessary complexities.

This can be achieved through thoughtful organisation, clear hierarchy, and intuitive interaction patterns.

For instance, by using familiar icons and standard conventions, designers can tap into users’ existing mental models, reducing the learning curve and enhancing usability.


Occam’s Razor serves as a guiding principle for UX designers, reminding us to prioritise simplicity and elegance in our designs.

By embracing this razor-sharp tool, we can create intuitive interfaces that empower users and deliver seamless experiences.

So, next time you embark on a design journey, remember the words of William of Occam: “Plurality should not be posited without necessity.”

Keep it simple, keep it user-friendly, and let Occam’s Razor be your trusted companion!

Want more awesome UX laws and principles? Check out this post.

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