Are People Leaving Your Site Because of Design Overload?

Though sometimes more is more, a lot of the times less is simply more. Look at any design by Calvin Klein and you will understand or look at a great simple web site like any of these and you will get the point.

An over-designed web site can take away from the message and mission of the site and that can hurt you financially and fundamentally. If people can’t find the purpose and then understand what they are supposed to do on the site in a clear and concise manner, they will leave. Brittany Byers of RocketMedia wrote, ‘Always remember that you are the expert in your industry and your customers are not. Your website content should educate your readers in a way that doesn’t confuse or overwhelm them. Step into your customer’s shoes and tell them what they want to know in a way that’s easy for them to understand. And avoid technical jargon whenever possible.”

That is why it is important to have a simple and direct design for your web site. Here are a few tips for doing just that:

Get in the mind of your visitor

Are they a person that is going to be in a rush and wants to get to the point right away or are you offering a service where they want to play around a bit? Will it irritate them to scroll down? Do they need more obvious buttons? Do they like a lot of visuals or will they get annoyed? To do this you really need to take a look at who is reading your site which may include a survey or questionnaire of some kind.

Have smart navigation

There are some web sites where you seemingly need the map skills of Magellan just to get to the one place you wanted to go. Navigation is so important. Keep in mind the placement of the navigation buttons and also labeling your navigation buttons. Also make sure your navigation is consistent throughout the site. 

Cut the clutter

Just like you should cut it on your desk, cut the clutter on your site. Byers wrote, “If your website is too distracting, whether you have too many colors or too many rotating banners, you’re taking away from the ultimate goal of your website.” Do you have too many widgets? Are there too many ads? Are there too many banners? Does your reader get lost? Those are the questions you need to ask.

Highlight the most important information for the user

Give the newest and most important content on your site top priority. Make sure that is what gets noticed first. If it is relevant info to the user, it may not even require a widget or big visual.  You want the reader’s attention to be focused easily. Christopher Butler wrote for Print Magazine, “The more a page is divided by non-overlapping, attention-seeking magisteria, the less likely it is to win your attention for the long-term. While mass-media sites can profit from visitors that are mostly just passing through, smaller sites need to cultivate visitors who will stay a while by creating an environment conducive to their focused attention. Remember, most websites offer content to inform and inspire prospective customers of a product or service.”

Use the 80-20 Rule

The 80-20 rule AKA the Pareto Principle is a great school of thought to abide by in web design. Efficiency expert Tim Ferriss says that in order to effectively implement the Pareto Principle in the design of any given website, only certain changes are required to be made (20%) and the majority of those will be on the home page since that is (and should be) where the main call to action is for a business. And making the changes on this page should be pretty minimal and will help the other 80%. Really just focus on the call-to-action buttons, traffic funnels, images, and whitespace and what needs to be done UX-wise. The main benefit of this is it allows you to focus on the really important stuff and block out the extra noise.