In 1952, experimental composer John Cage created his score named 4’33” (pronounced four, thirty three). The score consisted of three movements during which instrument players were asked not to use their instruments for the whole duration of the score, which lasted four minutes and thirty three seconds. He considered that through this period of silence, the audience could listen to the sounds of the environment, which for him was also considered as music. This may sound strange but it was also a statement. Cage wanted to show that silence is also a way of expression.
This is definitely a very relevant point for the field of User Experience. We have all entered endless discussions about whether or not the interfaces we design are too crowded, too complex or present too much information. The answer is that silence is gold in many occasions and Interface Design is definitely one of those. Interfaces need to be simple, intuitive and easy to use and in order to do this, they absolutely need to reflect their users’ needs and ways of thinking.
Humans are not designed to meticulously and in-depth read blocks and blocks of information. They want the answer to the problems they have at the moment they join our platforms/sites/apps. In many occasions, too much information kills the important information.
So, next time that you enter a creative discussion around Interface Design or Information Architecture, remember the amazing silence song of John Cage!