When In Doubt, Simplify by David

We often see clients with grand ideas and aspirations to create the world’s most interesting website. They dream of flashy animations, hover effects, on-scroll load states, dynamic CTA features, fancy flipping dodads, and occasionally a bouncing elf or 2. In effect, the dream of brining Willy Wonka’s factory to the digital space and letting the entire plant see how “hip” they can be.

The truth is, most of the time, it’s too much. The viewer came to the site to find the content, not to see a fancy counter of how many gizmos your company has created today. Think of it this way, image you’re in a nice restaurant, pleasant music plays in the background, and you’re genuinely excited to see what the menu has to offer. The waiter comes around, hands you the menu, but it’s as if he just handed you the Encyclopedia Galactica. It’s 15 pages long, double columned, and in tiny print. Are you ooh-ing and aah-ing at the sheer number of options, or are you frustrated with the incessant need to flip through 12 pages of stuff you, frankly, don’t really care to see? The menu, like the oversaturated site, is an example of unnecessary abundance.

When in doubt, simplify! As the theory of Occum’s razor presents, when presented with competing hypothetical answers to a problem, the simplest solution is probably the correct solution. This can be applied to websites as well. Most people would agree Apple’s website is a masterclass of design and elegance. When in reality, it’s a masterclass in simplicity. So much so, words aren’t even necessary to market some devices, a spectacularly taken photograph will do the trick.

A timeless adage comes to mind, one adopted by famous architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, “Less is more.”

When you’re considering whether or not to add this special gadget, or that nifty whatseewhozee, consider whether it actually adds value to the viewer, and to the content. Just because something looks cool, doesn’t mean it should be stuffed into the website.

Furthermore, today’s web experience is highly driven by the mobile experience, for which digital real estate and attention span are extremely limited. Meaning, if those fancy elements are absolutely necessary to the web site, they have to be translated into a mobile friendly experience, which, more often than not, means more time and money for the site construction.

 

To sum it all up, your site should be streamlined in content and in effects. In the long run, it will save you time, money, and potential business.

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