There are two web design categories to choose from. No, scratch that. There’s only one that you should consciously choose. But there’s a second design category that many business owners unknowingly slip into. And it’s detrimental to your efforts.
Introducing web design clutter
Effective websites are launched with a well structured web design that offers your visitors direction and a clear message. But over time, instead of offering visitors clarity, the layout shifts to pure chaos and clutter:
- Customers are confused about where to click first
- Pages are no longer logically grouped together
- Information is no longer easy to find
- Answers are no longer quick to obtain
- Everything is switched-on, bold, highlighted and demanding your attention
In a nutshell, cluttered websites are confusing to look at, difficult to use and don’t hold your attention for long. It’s all the things that you, as a website user, hate. So how or why, does this happen? After all, no savvy business owner would allow for this right? Correct. But clutter is a sneaky one… let me explain.
How & why does clutter sneak up on the best of us?
Clutter becomes a reality as a result of ongoing change.
- Your new service has nowhere to sit on your homepage, so it’s haphazardly squashed in where doesn’t belong.
- Your main navigation is full, so a random icon is added in the middle of nowhere.
- Technology changes, hiding your new icon on a mobile, so it’s duplicated further down the page. In bold, so it’s not missed.
Repeat this a few times and we’re in deep water, but what happens next is the clincher.
Our familiarity, leads to a loss of perspective. Interacting with the website every day softens the problems. They’re overlooked until they’re seen as minor issues, which are eventually swept under the carpet completely and accepted as the norm. This problem snowballs each time more changes are applied.
What’s wrong with a cluttered web design?
These websites try to say everything at once. The noise however is so deafening, that the only message delivered successfully is one of confusion. This is the opposite of the message your website should be sending to your customers. You have the opportunity for your website to attract more customers and generate more enquires. But we need to make their interaction with your brand seamless and enjoyable. You website should emulate what it would be like looking you in the eye, discussing your product or service in person.
Clutter builds confusion, not relationships. If there’s even a hint of clutter sneaking onto your pages, you need a strategy set in place, not a quick fix. Ask a colleague, friend or customer if they think your website is cluttered. Actually, send me your website address and I’ll have a quick look for you, no questions asked.
Web design trends will come and go, but clutter will never be one of them.