Law of Triviality : Bike Shedding

Law of Triviality

Discussed in the above video about Law of Triviality also called  as Bike shedding , the principle distilled by C. N. Parkinson.

It describes a phenomenon where people spend a relatively large amount of time, energy, and other resources dealing with relatively minor issues.

Bike Shedding Task

A big team who engages in bike shedding might spend more time discussing about ideas, and creating plan for the construction of a small bikeshed compared to the construction of an advanced infrastructure facility because the bikeshed represents an issue that is easier for them to understand and handle.

Now let’s see how this law of triviality applies in user experience design,

User Experience Design

We can see some of the stakeholders care more about color, design ornaments rather than defining well structured content, useful features and intuitive design. And they may not care about real end user needs.

There are several ways the law of triviality happens in product design

Let me list down some here

  • We involve more stakeholders, users and spend more effort to solve small issues, or some volunteer stakeholders involve themselves and this might bring confusion in ideation and waste whole team effort for small requirement
  • People can find it easier to focus on smaller problems than what’s most significant. The consequences of wrong decisions for trivial issues would have a smaller impact than bigger.
  • Bringing more people for a small problem, people can bring more subjective ideas and feature suggestions which will become challenging to crystalize the requirement and solutions for small problems
  • This can make people feel less confident. As a consequence, people spend more time considering than necessary, feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information to process.

Prioritize and Decide

This principle is useful to consider so the most important issues and ideas are prioritised during ideation. Suggestions and ideas can be gathered based on significant of the task and how this will create impact in conversions.

If a decision does not have a big impact in the long term, it may be necessary to opt for one of the options and stop worrying about the others. Considering the law of triviality helps to bring efficient design solutions instead of creating too many design options and iterations for unnecessary subjective feedback. Finally it will save resource utilization and cost of  product development etc.

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