40: Get To The Point

In the last entry, “Web Impatience”, the quotes reinforce my philosophy of just publishing a “product or service positioning statement” on the home page and including simple navigation with minimum decoration. The user wants to know immediately what the point is of your website. “What’s in it for me?” “Why should I care?” There must be instant recognition, simplicity, and clarity of why to stay or explore. Most home pages have too high of information density –aka clutter. Or in design language, “Emphasizing everything means emphasizing nothing.” These bad habits slow page download time and visitor comprehension.

The more focused the site the easier to optimize. General purpose, generic, “authority” websites do NOT fill the needs of information seekers. Smaller fast sites are the solution. Distributed information prevents information overload. Don’t present one bloated centralized site with 1,000 pages –rather 100 small sites that answer specific problems. It’s time to break up big sites into separate URLs based on market need. This makes information easier to find. Severe self-imposed limitations are needed to avoid visitor “boredom factor”, eliminate poor usability, and improve information findability.

31: Quotation from Marty Neumeier about Simplification of Websites

Excerpted from Meet the Makers, April 20, 2003

Alvey: How does online branding differ from offline branding?

Neumeier: Online branding is still in its infancy, so practitioners are still groping for the answer to that question. Of course, the experience we have with a website will contribute to how we feel about a company. But what’s missing in most web design is an understanding of the role differentiation plays in branding.

Since most web designers are throwing the kitchen sink into their sites, many sites tend to look alike. When designers start grappling with how to simplify their sites, they’ll come face to face with brand. Once you simplify a design, everything that’s left has to work harder.