8 Design Guidelines for Complex Applications

Summary: Despite great diversity in the workflows and end users supported by complex applications, these 8 design guidelines are generally applicable.

What Is a Complex Application?

We’ve previously defined a complex application as any application supporting the broad, unstructured goals or nonlinear workflows of highly trained users in specialized domains. Complex apps certainly vary in the type of workflows and end users they support — from research scientists to military professionals to financial analysts, for example — but they often share similar qualities. For example, complex apps frequently:

Modern news platform
for demanding readers

Subscribe to thematic newsletters prepared by professional editors.

  • Read your newsletters at regular time you want. E.g. every day at 9am.
  • We update your timeline only every 3 hours. Because that's sane.
  • No notifications. No endless scrolling. No addiction and FOMO.