Over the past several years, web sites have gotten a lot like junk mail. There is too much distraction, it’s crammed with too much information and no one knows what you what them to do since there is no sensible priority of information. Even sites like the Huffington Post and Mashable are beginning to lose readers because many are tired of wading through all of the distractions just to get to the content they want. Clutter is killing digital media.
People understand, there needs to be a revenue mechanism such as ads, but they need to be designed in so the experience is beneficial to both, the reader and the advertiser. The pendulum is swinging back to where it should be, a well crafted balance of design and functionality. For many years, it was all about SEO and cramming as much content, key words and meta tags into your site as possible with all disregard to aesthetically pleasing layouts, visual hierarchy to help us navigate and a sensible integration of advertising. Now days, when you come across a web site that is nicely designed, it really stands out against all of the competitive clutter that is out there now.
One of the main advantages of thoughtfully designed sites is it allows your brand to show through and engage the viewer. It gives them the room to breath and take it all in and conveys the feeling that there is something here worth spending a little bit of time with. Another benefit it gives the site room to inspire your reader. It’s hard to get inspired having to wade through a bunch of crap. For example, great, clean design with a purpose is one of the reasons why Pinterest has gained so much popularity. It’s clean, the ads don’t get in the way of the experience, but they don’t disappear either. It is very nicely designed to help inspire the creativity in all of us.
Here are few guidelines when it comes to designing web 3.0
1. Less is better. More is too much. – Each element needs to have a purpose and all of your elements, combined, have one purpose, to communicate your brand. It has been said that “subtraction is the hallmark of genius.”
2. Visuals still speak more than words – With the domination of mobile devices, people want to read less and watch more. Utilize the digital platform for what it is best at, photos and video. These are the tools that engage and inspire your readers to your brand and communicates with clarity and emotion.
3. Make advertising an integral part of the layout – If your site accepts ads, you will best serve your readers and your advertisers well if your site considers this early in the design phase, not as an after thought. Too many sites feel like the advertising is just stuck on there with no real strategy. The more integrated your advertising, the more effective you can make it for your advertiser.
4. SEO and key words are important, but not the most important – SEO and key words are great tools to attract new visitors to your site, but offering a great experience brings more people to your site. This is the true power of the web. If people find something cool, great, inspiring, etc., they will pass the link on. Pinterest is completely built on this premise and is proving to be very powerful for both individuals and brands.
If your site looks like a newspaper, consider the invisible numbers of people you are either losing or not attracting to be loyal visitors. If you get your web site right, you may surprise yourself in what you were missing out for all these years.