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Keep web design simple, stupid!

Apologies for the title, but now I have your attention I feel it is only fair to tell you that simple websites are the best.  Not only do they represent easier to use sites, but they can highlight areas that can be swamped by other unnecessary elements.

Simple sites do not necessary mean minimalist, but the golden rule to simple, is simply to remove unnecessary code, design elements, and content.  It’s that simple.  Below is some good reasons to keep it simple.

Navigation is easier than satnav.

If your site is full of useless content, why keep it?  This hinders navigation as not only does it hide links, but it also distracts from the natural flow of the site.

To obtain cleaner navigation, think about incorporating the following:

One main menu for navigation, which is consistent throughout the site.

Use sub navigation where needed in the design.

No drop down menus, but instead incorporate the navigation into the sites design.  Remember drop down menus can hide content on a cluttered site.

Slow websites are sleep inducing!

If you have a simple, streamlined site, you provide a better user experience as page loads are much faster.  Lots of JavaScript files, millions of style sheets and superfluous content all contribute to HTTP requests, and thus make your site come to a stand still.

You have to cater for the majority!

You may well be aware that studies have shown that 79% of users scan read a webpage, but are you incorporating that into your design?  If you de-clutter the page of graphic and other superfluous decorative elements, then the content takes centre stage.  Not only is the content easier to read, but the site becomes more accessible to scan readers and non scan readers alike.

Sites are up and running faster if they are simple.

Simple sites take to the air a lot faster if they are simple.  Also, in the main, they require less code to do so.  This is interrelated to navigation and faster page loads.  They also tend to be more relevant to what the site is all about.  Try having two templates instead of eight, simple typography instead of complex, and a background that requires no complicated slicing or coding.  Can make all the difference

There are pitfalls of designing a complex simple looking site.  It is possible to change front end design through just padding an element, or moving a margin, or sometimes just moving something around without it making a huge difference to how the page looks.  This can also help simplify the code, and therefore keep it simple.

Code it simple for less of a Debug fest!

Lets face it, 300 different style sheet properties is more likely to mean going to a debug fest, than if you have 30.  Not only does this mean less of a headache, but also you reach the point where you have your life back that much faster.  That is why it is a good idea to debug right at the start of the design, and where possible deploy techniques such as combining CSS style sheets and properties to make your code a lot shorter.  The trick is to cut the unnecessary code.  There are programs that can do this for you, just make sure you double check everything still works before you upload the files.

Less server space needed

Obvious, but worth mentioning, the amount of server space needed is greatly reduced on simple designs, and this can save a lot of money if the site is extremely popular as it cuts down on bandwidth.

The key to simple designs is simply to ask yourself a few questions about what you actually need to be on the site.  If you can’t think of a reason, don’t put it on there.  It’s that simple.

24 Responses to “Keep web design simple, stupid!”
  1. Manner

    I totally agree. You know, the simpler your website it the more people will be happy checking it. Do not over load your pages. Be simple and concrete with your objectives.

  2. Stanley

    This is especially true with official movie websites. I mean, what is up with all that flashy, unnecessary stuff? It’s so annoying.

  3. Wiginton

    It may be a good idea to just porvide links that can go outside of your site and not overload your single site with pages or contents. Yes, it doesn’t pay to wait at all times.

  4. Manner

    Many will really be affected by this article. Many designers are too fancy with their designs. Remember, make it simple. It doesn’t make you a good designer to place all you know in one website.

  5. May

    You should be mindful of the things that you put in your website. It is funny to know that many would like to install all the applications they know just to say that their website is awesome. Honestly, sometimes, putting too many things is not really that appreciating. For one, it’ll look crazy. People might get their eyes over sight of all your materials. I agree, that you have to make it simple and organize. Always remember that if you want all your materials in your site, learn how to manage them.

  6. Slanty

    Jonathan, I agree. It is very stressful to load an over loaded website. I am to lazy to read its contents. I find simple ones very efficient.

  7. Slanty

    Go with that Jeff! the simpler the website the easier to navigate. I like that!
    Please make sure that you do have all the basic. Do not put too much on your website!

  8. Jeff

    The simpler the website, the easier to navigate.

  9. Murry

    I don’t know why there are designers who think all that fluff makes a website great. It doesn’t.

  10. trickyourwhip

    You should try using Google Speedtag’s as well…


  11. Web Design Expert

    This article really made my day. I was laughing my heart’s out thinking how many people got hit by this. Well, this is pretty straightforward and I like the ideas on web design that’s clearly enumerated.

  12. Martin

    I agree with this article and May, point taken. Cool job on this one!

  13. web design and seo

    i did not agree with your opinion about simple websites,because anyone can make small sites which may not contain useful contents and it may increase the traffic.

  14. Peppler Ditto

    I must agree. Simplicity is still the best. Visitors will keep visiting your site when they know that it’s made plainly and is very user-friendly.

  15. ericdampier

    This is very true. Some sites are so flashy and they tend to open up so slow. They’re not even pleasing to the eyes.

  16. Slanty

    Oh Sooner. That is such a bad experience. I understand the feeling that you are so excited on something and it did not work just as you expected it. This article will surely help those website designers.

  17. Jonathan

    Tell me about it. Personally, I lose interest when a website has too much going on. When it takes forever to load, I just don’t bother with it anymore.

  18. Sooner

    I have one bad experience. I like the content of one website. However, it takes forever to load. I was so disappointed. I was so excited to read things about it. Unfortunately, I just have to conclude that it is just a waste of my time.

  19. Karrie Nicolussi

    Still, the end result is: people will view sites that are easier to navigate and will not make them wait in vain. Thank you for this nice article. It can serve as a wake up call.

  20. Sooner

    Thank you so much Manner and Slanty for supporting my statements. I do hope that this article will reach the designer of the site that I was dying to see.

  21. Manner

    I am so sorry to read all these Sooner. Let this be a big warning to all those designers out there! If you want people to love your site, make sure to make it a reader friendly one. Do not put so many things on it.

  22. Sheldon Broes

    These templates and advice are great.

  23. Luis

    People should read this. They will learn a thing or two.

  24. Raybuck

    @Sooner: We share the same experience. Though site’s content really draw reader’s attention, it is still ain’t good to wait long for the pages to appear. Time is of necessity.

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