Learned Actions Are Easy, but Understanding Complex Actions isn’t

Mitt Patel
3 min readNov 14, 2019

The actions that we learned, experienced, and remembered are easy and sometimes an unconscious decision that we sometimes don’t even have an awareness of the actions that we do. Humans are good at finding conclusions from experiences and observations we deal with day to day events, but our ability to learn is not perfect and complex problems and ideas are something that our brains suited for. The complex situations, that involve variables that create many factors, or many solutions, is something that are brain can’t comprehend. One example of learned actions is that, when a person first decides to drive a car, the persons tells us that they will micromanagement, and will try and control every action, but then when the person gets use to driving, it becomes an automatic action. Some actions, when they become an automatic actions don’t require constant attention, in which case our hands and body knows what to do in those situation.

Design Created by Mitt Patel

Difference between a simple actions, and complex actions.

This design shows that there is a clear difference in a simple and a complex action. A simple action can be performed and very easy to use, and a couple of action that support this is, driving a car, brushing your teeth, or hair, unlocking your phone, tying your shoes, shaving, opening a lock, and simple mathematics. These types of actions, usually happen without us, putting conscious effort into these actions. One the other hand, problem solving and calculations are complex, and takes mentally effort to keep focus, an understanding of the problem, and even then it will take us multiple tries in get it right, in which, is just wasted effort. Some of these complex actions examples are: Arithmetic problems, translation to two equations problems, reasoning, and devising, and executing a series of diagnostic tests.

What does this mean for User Interface?

What simple and complex actions mean for user interface and web design is that we need to make them simple, and not complex. In making the user interface not complex, we can support the users that go on the website, because we don’t strain their attention and short-term memory. We should guide our users, and one way that we can guide our users is that we can make the website simple, and make it so that even if they get on our website for the first time, then they can easily and simply traverse, and navigate our website, and they don’t have to understand a complex route of tabs, folders, and links to get to what they need. We can also try and make them familiar to the website, by making it seem that we use concepts, terminology, graphics, that the user might know in which then they don’t have to stress their mind out, in figuring out what the symbol, idea, or how the wording works. To learn more about the differences between simple and complex actions, Jeff Johnson’s Designing with the Mind in Mind gives more examples, and a deeper understanding of the theory between learned actions, and complex actions, and how different it is to understand them.

The Actions At The End

At the end of the day, we should try and keep anything that we do, both design wise, and in real life, as simple as possible, since if we don’t keep it simple, then people that we meet in our daily life, will become confused, mentally strained, and can cause unexpected misunderstanding if the problem becomes to complex. So to everyone in the entire world, try and keep your problems simple, and not confusing, so that people don’t have to solve the Di Vinci Code, in order to understand that your partner, family, or brother just forgot to buy the groceries.

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Mitt Patel

Hello, my name is Mitt Patel. I am amateur designer. I love to play video games. Also, love to travel, and I have been to California, India, Mexico, and etc.