Increased interest in universal usability is causing some researchers to study advanced strategies for satisfying first-time as well as intermittent and expert users. This paper promotes the idea of multi-layer interface designs that enable first-time and novice users to begin with a limited set of features at layer 1. They can remain at layer 1, then move up to higher layers when needed or when they have time to learn further features. The arguments for and against multi-layer interfaces are presented with two example systems: a word processor with 8 layers and an interactive map with 3 layers. New research methods and directions are proposed.