In the past few years that I have surfed the net, I have seen websites that use designs that are way too complex for ordinary web surfers. Complex designs are those designs only the designer can understand and navigate through. I am also not to keen on designs that use a lot of graphics for the sole reason of not being to view them immediately, slow download time.
Remember, web design should always be about simplicity, simplicity in structure, simplicity in layout and simplicity in design. Why keep it simple?
* Think! At least 80% of internet users are non-creative people. There is a chance that they will not understand what you are trying to convey on the design if it?s too complex. Always make a relationship between your design and the content or information being served. You should help your users understand the how and the why of the design and not to force them to understand.
*A complex navigation system will, more often than not, irritate users or visitors to your site. People surf the internet to get information. That?s what the internet is all about, information dissemination. If your site serves tons of information you will want your users to gain access to it at the most fastest and fewest clicks. Information that is not immediately accessible is almost useless. I for one hate waiting for a page to load only to find out that I can?t get to the information I want to go. Does it make sense? Keeping your navigation simple and direct will not only help your users or visitors it will also project an organize feel to your site.
*Too much graphics adds complexity to your site?s design. Again, the internet is about serving information and what better way to present information is by presenting it in text format. Use graphics only to support all those text of information. There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, not on the web it isn?t. On the web, a picture, especially a large one, is worth an additional waiting time for users. Decide where and when to use graphics or images and when you do use graphics make sure that they relate to something or related to something. Don?t let your users wait for a graphic to load only to find out after it loads that it isn?t related to anything important. Total waste of time.
*Avoid too many colors. A base color and another two or three colors are enough for a website. Colors add life and interest to any forms of design but too much of it can distract users attention off of important information. Colors should also be used as guides that will help users go through your piece and to create divisions for different areas. Complimentary colors work very well. You can also use shades of the same hue and if you are still having problems with colors then just use your best judgment. The technique is if it doesn?t look good to you, then I am 100% certain that it will not look good to others.
*Limit your fonts to only one family and make sure that it is a standard font type. Combination of fonts from different font family will make your site hard to read. I suggest you use verdana since it is available in all Windows systems and it is very, very easy to read on screen. Times New Roman looks good on print but on screen, well, I don?t know. You decide? Avoid turning paragraphs of text into graphics. Why? It adds to your download time because it is a graphic and search engine?s spiders can?t read them and will not index them for they can only read and index text.
It is not true that only in complex designs can you show your creativity. Actually, it is more difficult to be creative with simple designs. It's like a paradox in design. How can it be simple yet creative? Or, how can it be creative when it is simple? You can be creative yet still be simple in your design. The idea of simplicity here is on the way you present your design. Is it easy to understand? Is it easily accessible? Do I need to wait a long time for my design to load? Am I turning visitors away because my site and my design are not for them? Ask these questions and try to answer them. Be the user. I for one don?t like to wait, I want to immediately get the information I want from the site, and I don?t want to feel discriminated just because I don?t have this or that or I am not this or that or this is not for me.
About the Author:
Romelo Jimenez Itong is a Philippine-based web designer/developer with
years of experience designing and developing websites for US and other
international clients. Visit Romelo.com
for more information.