Lots of us have had that heavy feeling – sitting around the holiday dinner table. You’ve simply eaten too much. You feel like you can’t take another bite – or another step. You’re done for the day. Time to go crawl into bed.
The Internet can be like that. Dense sites with too much topical material that’s difficult to digest are like that rich meal – someone’s throwing something at you all at one time, and it’s too much.
Making your site a great experience takes more than a simple list – it requires some dedication to design and web engineering.
Text Typography and Layout
Some ways that professionals get around a thick or dense site have to do with orienting text on the page. One of the simple commandments for content people is to use bullet lists — instead of putting lists into “comma form,” which leads to bulky, hard to read paragraphs of close text, it’s often better to write these bits of text in a linear format, which adds whitespace and allows the eye to scan the page more easily.
Designers also alter logos and important bits of text, blowing up letters, creating neat visual shapes, or otherwise using layout to enhance the site.
Another strategy is short paragraphs — rather than going on for lines and lines, it’s better to create short sentences, hit return and move on.
While good text layout is essential, good design and refreshing content goes well beyond that.
Some of it relies on a more broad-based design process. For example, someone creates a mockup on a piece of paper, showing how to create pages that don’t look too crowded.
Then, an expert coder utilizes languages like HTML and CSS to put those ideas into real web code, so that a browser renders them the same way that they were dreamed up.
Another easy tip is to add visuals. Although this might sound like it’s too simple or a bit of a cliche, it really is effective.
Take a look at any product and services web site that you really liked to click on and scan through. What do these sites have in common? Often, it’s quality photography. Whether they use stock photography or their own images, companies that ‘import’ fresh, attractive snapshots of people or places into their sites tend to get a lot more traffic and a lot better retention of the page views that they do get.
Some companies go a step further and embed short texts pieces, like quotes or customer testimony, over top of the images.
All of this makes a web site a place that’s “more fun to play in” — and when you get right down to it, that’s really one of the ultimate goals of good web design. You can build anything you want — but the reader had better have fun while they’re taking it in.
See our related blog post about typography
Let WebSubstance help to build a site that’s user-friendly, to keep readers coming back for more, not overwhelmed by bad user interface design. We know how to keep a web site looking fresh and how to keep readers engaged and entertained all the way through your site. And that can make all the difference.