These are the words of Henry David Thoreau from Walden Pond. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post in the first part of this series on simplicity, he was making a joke with the phrase. If he actually meant to order us to simplify, he would have said it once!
Simplicity in site design, and with design in general, is critically important. It can be too easy to lose people in the details, rather than bringing them smoothly along the funnel.
Let us compare two web sites, visually, and consider what the goal of the designer is (i.e. where do they want you to click?).
These are two sites with huge brand names behind them; even still, these are two great examples of opposite design philosophies at work. In one case, Yahoo seeks and strives hard to be ‘everything for everyone’, while Google is offering one very simple, straightforward service right upfront.
The point is that your site should be straightforward, direct and to the point. You should be helping your site user navigate your site. Tell them what to do, where to go, what to click. You can give them options, but chances are if they are on an internal page on your site (not the home page) and they entered the site that way, it is most likely they got there from Google search, which means they were looking for something specific on that page.
Unless your company’s goal is to be simply an information resource, you will want to make a sale or conversion from that visit, so make it simple. Have a clear Call to Action visible. Direct your content so that it makes a coherent and convincing sales pitch. That’s the opportunity of your web page. Assume you have this one chance on this one page with a visitor to convince them to do business with you.
Calls to Action are part of simplicity, and they aid the website visitor in their navigation, but if the screen is cluttered and full of calls to action, then confusion reigns supreme.
Ideally, your site should be laid out in a thoughtful, simplistic manner, destined to take advantage of your knowledge of your target audience. If you know they are particularly interested in one piece of content, one product, one page, then it should be linked on the home page.
Think about the 3 most successful products, services, or written content you’ve produced, and direct people there. Chances are if it appeals to many, it should appeal to many more. Go ahead and tap into that internet market out there and help them enjoy doing online business with you!