A-Z Popular Blog Design Search »
Related Guides

What is the Principle Of Least Effort?

 , updated on
Principle of least effort is the tendency for people to choose the easiest path to a goal. It is considered a common behavior that has implications in a number of areas:

Business Models

Principle of least effort can be used to explain the success of business models that reduce customer effort. For example, buying a book with one click on an ecommerce site is often much less effort than going to a bookstore.

User Interfaces

Users tend to prefer interfaces that allow them to directly accomplish tasks with a minimum number of steps. For example, a checkout process on an ecommerce site that forces customers through 5 or 6 steps may result in a high abandonment rate.

Risk & Safety

If there's an easy way to achieve an objective some people may take this path even if it is high risk or dangerous. This can be used as a baseline assumption in designing safer processes, systems, machines, vehicles, infrastructure and cities.


Generally speaking, people prefer designs that are as close to effortless as possible. For example, customers may prefer devices that are intuitive to use without anything to learn.
Overview: Principle Of Least Effort
The tendency for people to choose the easiest path to a goal.
Related Concepts

First Principles

This is the complete list of articles we have written about first principles.
Arrow Of Time
Art For Art's Sake
Keep It Small
KISS Principle
Ban The Average
Least Astonishment
Big Picture
Business As Usual
Worse Is Better
Complexity Hiding
Do No Harm
Fit For Purpose
Form Follows Function
Form Follows Nature
Genius Loci
Interchangeable Parts
Keep It Simple Stupid
Less Is A Bore
Less Is More
More Is Different
Path Of Least Resistance
Preserving Ambiguity
Think Global, Act Local
More ...
If you enjoyed this page, please consider bookmarking Simplicable.

Design Principles

A list of design principles.

Ban The Average

Why averages are counterproductive for design.

Fit For Purpose

A way to define the ideal level of quality.

Principle Of Least Astonishment

An overview of the Principle Of Least Astonishment.

Preserving Ambiguity

Overview of preserving ambiguity.

Form Follows Function

An overview of form follows function with examples.

Examples Of Design Principles

A definition of design principles with examples.

Proportion vs Scale

An overview of proportion and scale in design.


An overview of common learnability principles.


The definition of elegance with examples.

Design Considerations

A list of common design considerations.


An overview of lightness in design.

Design Constraints

The common types of design constraint.

Design To Cost

The definition of design to cost with examples.

Design-to-Value vs Design-to-Cost

The different between design-to-value and design-to-cost with examples.

Design Objectives

A list of design objectives.

Design Goals

A list of common design goals.

Design Function

An overview of design function with examples.

Design Composition

An overview of design composition with examples.

Design Requirements

A list of what is included in design requirements.
The most popular articles on Simplicable in the past day.

New Articles

Recent posts or updates on Simplicable.
Site Map