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Keep It Simple, Stupid for Web Design

Web design can be a complicated issue. All Websites are different, some serve different purposes than others, and the subject matter may dictate how much–or how little–”style” a Website needs.

All that aside, KISS. Which stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid. Of course, we’re not referring to anyone reading this as stupid, it’s just a colloquialism, if you will.

It’s understandable that one would want as much “stuff” on the Website page as possible. After all, if you’re conveying information, then you want to put as much of it out  there as possible. This is not a new problem. The people who design newspaper front pages have been dealing with it forever.

But, when designing a Web page, try to look at the exercise from the viewer’s point of view, rather than the publisher’s. We already know that the publisher wants to get as much stuff as possible up, but does the viewer want to read it?

Let’s take a look at a few Websites as illustration.

Bing is perhaps the best designed site I have seen. Instead of confronting the reader with a giant pile of type, Bing presents a screen wide photo, usually depicting something  in nature or a city scene. It’s purposely not “newsy.” The photos, by the way, are embedded with little “talking points” about the photo for added interest. It is, I believe, one of the first “elegant” style sites which have purposely veered away from the “pile of type” design.

Another is Rhapsody.com. A subscription music service, Rhapsody makes judicious use of multi-media, music, album cover, and the media player to present a site with millions of tracks which doesn’t look like millions of tracks. The type is all about navigation: a list of genres, new releases, recommended albums, a browse feature and my music, a list of songs you’ve already played. For something as busy as a music Website, Rhapsody has a refreshingly uncluttered look.

A poorly designed Website is Real Clear Politics. Ironic, no? There’s a roster of stories in a middle panel, another roster of stories on a left hand panel, a small video box on the right hand panel, and various maps, charts, boxes for other Websites run by RCP, and so on. As they are a content aggregator–they take content from other places–this is somewhat to be expected, but imagine how cleaner the site would be if there was a graphic or photo and directions to stories, polls, and video. By comparison, the Drudge Report does just about everything Real Clear Politics does without leaving readers to “read the page” to find out what they want to read.

It’s an important issue given the chaos that sits on our desktops. Multiple sites might be open at the same time, with Skype and Garage Band and the rest. The Web experience is built for skipping around, and unless it’s clear to read about who we are and what we’re about in a moment or two, readers may give up and move on.

Author Bio:- Ann Christopher is Author and Brand Manager for ProdPromo, leading online promotional gifts supplier in the UK.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • vicky

    October 25, 2012, 5:34 pm

    A very genuine issue and the sight of a cluttered site makes us give up looking further. Good tip. From now on, I will try to present information without cluttering my site.

    Reply

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