If you want an effective website design, you might do well to remember the “talking pillow” scene in Breaking Bad. Fans will recall that Walter White was struggling with the decision to begin chemotherapy, and had gathered family members around him to share their feelings. Each was supposed to speak only when holding the “talking pillow,” but the situation soon devolved into a shouting match in which no one could be heard.

Walter, who hadn’t spoken a word, finally had heard enough, whistled loudly and snatched the cushion. “I’ve got the talking pillow now,” he said, and that was that.

Remember Walter’s take-charge moment when considering your website design.

Businesses often put too much information on one web page, then attempt to make too many important points stand out by bolding, italicizing or enlarging the text. The result can be a visual shouting match that confuses the visitor.

Think how many times you have arrived on a home page and can’t find what you’re looking for. Google engineers measure page view time in milliseconds, so you know most people will move on quickly. Frustrate them and you risk losing them.

Good website design helps visitors find what they want with the principle of addition by subtraction. Take away the clutter so that essential information or calls to action can stand out. It’s OK to have numerous elements on a page, as long as they are well organized and do not try to shout over one another.

  • DO make your web pages, and especially your home page, as clutter free as possible.
  • DON’T overuse typographical gimmicks such as bold or italics.
  • DO organize by dividing your content into three categories: what visitors are definitely searching for, what they’re probably searching for, and what they’re possibly searching for.
  • DO put the “definites” front and center, pick two or three “probablys” to place elsewhere on the page, and either remove all of the rest or move it to a subnavigation page for those who want to know more.
  • DO create clear and simple navigation to guide visitors to the information they want.

Need help with design for your business website, publication or marketing collateral? Email Kim Landry or call 484.829.0021.

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