Web site design need not be a tedious, complicated activity. At the end of the day, your goal is to create something that catches the eye of your target audience AND keep them coming back for more. There are many principles to web design, and you can spend hours – even days and weeks – learning all about them. If you want to essentials, though, you can always stick to simplicity.
Simplicity is beauty.
That statement may prove to be a bone of contention, as with many things, web design can be relative. What others may see as beautiful, some may see as horrendous. You have to go back to the basic concept of design: it is not all about beauty, but also whether or not your creation serves a purpose effectively.
Bearing that in mind, here are three things you can do to simplify your website’s design.
Show content above the fold
When you first visit a website, and you have to immediately scroll down because you do not see any content without doing so, what is your reaction? I don’t know about you, but I consider that a horrible user experience! When I visit a site, I want to know what it has to offer right away. Having to scroll down because of ads and other non-essential content is a sure turn off. What you need to do is make sure that there is something of value to be read above the fold.
Take this example.
What you see is what you get when you visit this website about Internet providers. While there is obviously more content to be discovered, you immediately get some essential information – a promo code, a phone number, and plan pricing – without having to scroll down.
Apply the Pareto Principle
The Pareto Principle is also known as the 80-20 rule. It basically states that for many things, “roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.” How does this apply in website design?
Ask yourself this question: What is (roughly) 20% of the content on your page that will provide 80% of value to your readers?
This could be a snippet of the post, related posts, and badges. Once you have identified those elements, make sure that you focus on displaying them. That way, you provide most value to your visitors. This is essentially reducing your site to what matters most and getting rid of distracting elements that do not provide value.
Reduce the number of pages
Take the time to look at your pages. Are there some pages that are basically duplicates of each other? Are there pages that can be combined to form one page? This makes navigation easier for the user. Don’t fall for the mindset of “the more pages, the better”. Indeed, in many cases, the fewer your pages – as long as they contain all the necessary information – the better the experience for the user.