Back in the 1960s the U.S. Navy officially recognized what is known as the KISS principle. KISS is a design principle based in the idea that it is not wise to make things unnecessarily complicated. In true Navy fashion, the acronym behind KISS was pretty blunt and in-your-face.
The original acronym stood for “keep it simple stupid”. History suggests the phrase was first coined by an engineer at Lockheed Skunk Works. It just so happens that Skunk Works is Lockheed Martin’s program for developing some of the most advanced military hardware in the world. If it is true that this engineer coined the phrase, it’s no surprise the Navy adopted it as an official design principle.
With that said, the KISS principle has been expanded in the modern era. With that expansion has come a number of different acronyms to replace the original. We don’t like to call anyone stupid, so we prefer to see KISS in a different light. Below are three ways to apply the KISS principle based on three new acronyms.
1. Keep It Short and Simple
This first acronym certainly applies to law. But it actually applies throughout business and industry as well. Keeping things short and simple is the best way to do everything from designing legal case management software to introducing a company or law firm to new clients.
There really is no reason to use complicated verbiage and industry jargon. There is no reason to complicate messaging in the marketing department. Trying to impress people with flowery speech and complicated design principles not only fails to accomplish the desired goals, it turns customers off. If customers do not understand what you are talking about, how likely are they to buy your product or service?
2. Keep It Simple and Smart
The principle of keeping it simple and smart is very appropriate to software development. When we designed NuLaw, one of our goals was to make it simple enough to use without requiring a degree in software development. Yet we also wanted NuLaw to be as smart as the attorneys and support staff who use it.
To accomplish this, we started with the Salesforce CRM platform. Salesforce is already built around simplicity and smarts, so it was a logical foundation for NuLaw. If other software developers more closely followed the Salesforce model, they would find that their finished products are a lot less confusing and a lot easier to learn.
3. Keep It Short and Sweet
Last but not least is the principle of keeping it short and sweet. There is a whole lot we could say here but we want to honor the KISS principle in this blog post. Simply put, keeping things short and sweet eliminates redundancy, bloat, useless information, etc.
In the legal sector, keeping things short and sweet is very difficult. Attorneys tend to be extremely thorough in everything from discovery to presenting a case. Trials can go on for weeks simply because attorneys are tending to leave no stone unturned.
We get it, but we don’t have to apply the same kind of thinking to NuLaw. We can utilize the latest in automation and artificial intelligence to keep things as short and sweet as possible for users. That’s the least we can do to help them make the most of our software.
When the Navy adopted KISS as an official design principle, they were telling Lockheed and other contractors to not overcomplicate matters. Today, that same principle applies throughout business and industry. We just alter the acronym slightly to bring it into modern terms.