What’s the big deal with simple website design? I’ve been around this Internet a time or two and let me tell you, it’s a huge deal. Cluttered, misleading, and ugly websites are fouling the web in uncounted droves! And if you’ve got one, it’s the electronic equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot. Your customers need to know who you are and what you’re about as soon as they land. A pandemonium of internal contradictions is the last thing to show them.
But don’t fret. A few tried and true practices that will instantly make your website more polished, informative, and flowing. Plus, it requires less work than filling up your site with a bunch of distracting crap. Everybody wins!
Pretend you want to go look at some art. Which is the better environment to appreciate it: the understated museum or the cluttered antique shop? The former, obviously. And why? Negative space. Simple web design works the same. Wide margins create clean, unobtrusive emptiness that lets the eye go right to what’s important. Decide what you want the focus of each page to be, then give it room to breathe.
Cut the Junk
Do you want to muck through websites that have fifteen navigation buttons, three widgets, a counter, flash animation, and the pictures and text that are supposed to be the focus? Navigation should be brief and intuitive. Fewer buttons, sidebars, and design leftovers from the 1990s. Simple web design eliminates things so people can see you.
A few words on your words. Simple web design dictates your website and should incorporate no more than two or three fonts. Let each serve a specific function (body font, title font, etc.). Make sure the font type and size is consistent throughout the site. Size each for easy reading- eye strain won’t endear you to anyone. Serif or sans serif is up to you, although sans tends to look better on a monitor. And heed this like you’ve never heeded anything- there is never, ever any reason to employ a comic sans font. EVER.
Say it with Less
Is content a design problem? You bet! Brevity is the soul of wit, and it’s also the soul of simple web design. No more nine paragraph “About” pages no one’s going to read. No more breaking your processes down to their dullest atoms. Think of your website as a love letter. Now think of your customer as a lover with a short attention span and lots of suitors. Don’t bore them with long, heavy-handed droning. Make your plaint short, suave, and coaxing. It looks better on the page and it reads better to a visitor.
Simple web design is just about making your space, your appearance, and your content count. And it’s not brain surgery, although it will make you look as sharp as a scalpel. Don’t over-accessorize, don’t oversell. Simplify, step back, and let your message and your confidence be their own ornament.
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