Keeping Web Design Simple
When designing a website, it is easy to try and reinvent the wheel, when more often than not, the simple things make the biggest impact.
This article is based on a book called 'Don't Make Me Think' by Steve Krug. Which articulates, how key simplicity is when it comes to designing a website.
Here are just a few guiding principles to help you and your teams.
1. People can only pay attention to a few things at a time
A website should be quick and easy to scan, demonstrating to the customer they have landed at the right place, you have 3 seconds to make an impression. Creating a visual hierarchy helps people decipher information and aid cognitive flow.
You can do this by:
Headlines (value propositions) - Unique, clear and relevant headlines that state 'what is in it for them' followed up by a 'prove it' statement.
Structure copy - People first viewing a site don't read, they scan. Make it easy for them with paragraphs no longer than three lines, and utilise bullets points.
Use relevant imagery - a picture tells a thousand words.
Provide one key action point - tell the person what you want them to achieve. However, do make it easy for people to navigate elsewhere (more on this below).
2. Make it easy for people to navigate to where they want to go
If you don't, you could easily frustrate that person. If we don't find or understand how something works we don't like it. However, when people figure out or do something themselves there is a sense of achievement.
Here are some elements that can help;
Sections bar (quick links) - to key or relevant pages
Breadcrumbs - they act like 'you are here' indicators (learn more about breadcrumbs here).
Search bar - this feature acts as the shop assistant, if you are struggling to find something, you ask (some of us).
Link your logo to the homepage - a simple way for people to get home and start again if needed.
A well-structured site navigation
3. Use conventions
Conventions can be an advantage, they equal consistency. Tapping into what people know will make them feel comfortable. There are many elements on a website, people have become accustomed to and how they function.
This doesn't mean to say innovation isn't needed. Test, test and test again. Don’t rely on co-workers, friends or even your own opinion. Testing allows you to better understand what is or isn’t working and how different people require different things.
What are their pain points?
What motivated them?
There are a variety of tools to help you gain this invaluable insight. It doesn't have to be resource-intensive and in fact, it will save you time in the long run.