Exercise Three: Laws of Signal-to-Noise Ratio and Uniform Connectedness

By group Smell: Caroline, Alex, Phoebe and Andrew


Signal-to-Noise ratio is basically the ratio of what’s useful versus what’s useless. When you see something, your brain has to deal with what it’s seeing, and is always sorting out what’s important and what isn’t. The more information it gets, the more it has to sift through. In order to give a clear signal, you have to make sure that you don’t cloud up the message with useless or redundant messages or images.

You want to keep your approach to the design as simplified as possible, so that whatever message you’re trying to get across is clearly stated. Apple is known for their exceptionally simple approach to advertising. And by gum it works too.


It’s usually a good idea to group similar things together, and that’s basically what uniform connectedness is. Applying uniform connectedness can be very helpful with making things like complicated cable TV remotes easier to understand.¬†On a keyboard, all the letter keys are in one box, the number keys are in another, the various function keys are all arranged in their own little groups, everything is nice and easy to understand (sort of…) But it doesn’t have to be so simple as drawing a box around all the arrow keys. Grocery stores are laid out with this sort of thing in mind.

If you needed supplies for baking some cookies, it would be an awful chore if you had to trek all over the store to get all the different ingredients. Keeping all the related items together makes it easier to find things, and can make your trip to the supermarket quick and easy if you’re in a hurry. Really, it’s just good organizing sense. Got it? Good.

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