Simplicity on the Web

When envisioning a new or improved Web site, initial brainstorms often produce extravagant ideas and words like “movement,” “flashy,” “excitement.” Before you know it, there are Flash animations, bright colors, and more words than a Tolstoy novel. Before it gets to that point, slow down. Breathe. Think. Simplify.

What is your call to action? What do you want your users to do as a result of visiting your Web site? Now, design that, and only that. Everything on your site should lead back to the call to action.

Where do you simplify? Everywhere you can.

  • Simplify your graphics. Use graphics that enhance your message, but don’t over do it. Graphics slow browser loading time. They can also be distracting, thereby detracting or annoying your site’s visitors.
  • Simplify your text. If you have a prolific writer that loves to elaborate, the Web is probably not a project for them. People on the Web are generally looking for quick information. They will not read every word. They will skim to see if they can find what they need. If they don’t see it, they’re gone. Keep it short and to the point.
  • Simplify your organization. If your site visitors can’t find what they are looking for in a few seconds, they will leave. Period. They will not scour your site. Organize your content into categories that make sense. Your main call to action should be readily apparent on the home page.
  • Simplify your home page. You don’t have to fit everything on your home page. Trying to do so dilutes your message. Limit it to a few important elements (all relating to your call to action, of course). Organize the rest into other relevant areas of your site.

Resist the urge to put everything on your site. Remember the old adage, keep it simple sweetheart.

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