On several occasions last week I found myself frustrated that I could not find a piece of information I needed on a website, I knew it had to be there somewhere, it is just that someone had effectively if inadvertently hidden it. GGGRRRRR
Over the years I have asked many people, individually and in audiences, what for them constitutes the perfect website.
There have been many answers, but there are always three that recur almost every time:
- Simple, clear, and quick to navigate.
- The information needed is on the site.
- We know what to do next.
How easy is that?, yet how often do we find ourselves searching a site, getting frustrated before we move onto the next likely one in the search list.
Usually it appears that the confusion and clutter comes from a few common sources. Designers try and put all the information up front, rather than creating a hierarchy of information that reflects the way people search, they let their “designer” genes run riot with the result that there is simply too much “design”, or that the original design has been added to over time like a house that goes through a series of renovations and extensions and ends up just being a collection of rooms.
It is really just a question of thought being put into the design. The combination of white space, written information, graphics, and calls to action (CTA). There are many “rules” of design around, this article by Zoe Sadokierski from UTS offers some of the perspective of history, that can be usefully applied to website design, but a bit of common sense goes a long way.
Next time you set out to design a site, consider these three simple rules, or you could just call the gurus at Imagehaven.