web-design tip

Clear out the clutter.

First, let’s address one of the most common beginner mistakes in web design: a cluttered screen. Most people have a list of everything they want on their website, and without knowing any better, they just throw it all on screen—and on the same page. Basically, every element you add to your web design waters down all the others. If you include too many distracting elements, your user doesn’t know where to look and you lose a coherent experience. By contrast, if you only include the necessary elements, those elements are more potent since they don’t have to share center stage.


		
			
				
					More white space means less clutter and that’s what really matters in a minimalist, clean web design.				
			
			
				
			
		



					
		
	

See how the home screen in the Intenz example by Top Level designer Slaviana features nothing but the essentials: navigation menu, logo, tagline, main call-to-action (CTA) and some sparse imagery for atmosphere and to show off the product. They feature other information of course, but present it later so their screens are never too crowded. It’s the visual equivalent of pacing. For a web design to be effective, it needs to be streamlined—there must be a clear path or paths for the user to follow. There are many different ways to achieve this (some explained below), but the first step is always to create space for high-priority elements by removing low-priority ones. Do:

  • Trim the fat. Audit your designs for the essentials. If an element doesn’t add to or improve the overall experience, remove it. If an element can live on another screen, move it there.
  • Limit pull-out menus. Pull-out menus (drop-downs, fold-outs, etc.) are a good way to reduce clutter, but don’t just sweep your problems “under the rug.” If possible, try to limit these hidden menus to seven items. Don’t:
  • Use sidebars. New visitors probably won’t use them. Plus, if all the options don’t fit in your main navigation menu, you need to simplify your navigation structure anyway (see below).
  • Use sliders. The motion and new images in a slider are distracting and they weaken your control over what your users see. It’s better to showcase only your best images, all of the time.