Wordle’s Superpower is Simplicity

five squares

Have your social media feeds been taken over by grids of black, yellow, and green squares? 

Wordle is the latest viral sensation, an online game where players attempt to guess a five-letter mystery word within six guesses, the only clues being which letters in each guess are correct (green squares), which are in the answer word but in the wrong position (yellow squares), and which are not in the answer word (black squares). 

The game was made public in October 2021, and grew in popularity so quickly that it recently was sold to the New York Times for 7 figures.  

So what about Wordle has been so appealing? What draws millions to play the game every day and post their scores for all the world to see? 

Fundamentally, Wordle is a story about the power of simplicity.  

In a world where even straightforward tasks often are complicated with added steps (set up an account; accept our terms of service; confirm this action in your email; enter the code we sent to your phone; etc.), something that just works, with no gimmicks or flash, has a powerful draw. 

There is no account to sign into. The website remembers your device, but that’s all. 

There are no terms of service or ads. You load the site, read the instructions on your first time, and then play. 

There is no attempt to get you to keep playing for hours on end. There is a single word each day, the same word for everyone in the world, and that’s it. Once you either solve it or make your final guess, you’re done for the day. 

There are no social gimmicks or special offers. You can share your results for the day as emojis, simple as that. 

Where so many games are falling prey to feature creep, Wordle deliberately went the other direction, evolving from a simple program designed by its creator to play with his partner into the same simple program, just available for everyone. But it turns out, sometimes simple is exactly what people want! 

Sometimes new features and complexity add value to a product or service. They can make it more powerful and effective. But sometimes, those new features and complexity just get in the way of people doing the simple things they want to do. Part of wisdom is learning to recognize the difference and taking the right steps in a given situation. 

Is there a way you could simplify your business? Maybe it’s about simplifying a product or service, or maybe it’s simplifying the customer experience. Sometimes simpler is better. 



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