The first websites contained nothing more than simple text; it was purely informational and directly related to the user’s needs. As web design developed, sites got a lot prettier. Today, there are endless options with which to add both form and function to your website, including advanced Flash features, video, games, chat, feeds, graphics, and audio. A few years ago, the goal was to wow visitors with a sleekly designed site. Today, that model has shifted and functionality is now the objective. More sites are cutting the clutter – should you?
You may want to consider paring down your website’s extras for a very practical reason: if you are in a business that depends on local or mobile search, your site won’t be able to load. Apple doesn’t support Flash at all, and other platforms will load it very slowly, if at all. Functional design is crucial for mobile search, which is increasing exponentially.
Other changes to consider:
• Making your site easy to navigate via fingertips. A site designed for laptops or desktops can afford to use more graphic content and other extras. They also have features like links when you hover over a piece of text or image. This doesn’t translate well to mobile search. Make links easy to get to with a touch of the finger.
• Make sure your site is flexible enough to be viewed both horizontally and vertically. Again, this is especially crucial for those who depend on mobile search and users.
• Use large photos for your background. These are eye-catching and noticeable while allowing you to simplify text.
• Searchers can see a preview of your site before they decide to click through. Making your content eye-catching is vital, but so is ensuring that relevant information is easily found.
Focusing on function is going to be more important to designers, but the visual aspect cannot be discounted. Paring down without detracting from the user’s experience is key.