Less is more is the design philosophy credited to
architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
The philosophy of most Web sites seems to be
Stick something wherever there is space; someone might see it and want it. Yeesh!
And the site hits the fan!
Do these sites tell you where to look first? No.
They just throw it all on the page in visual confusion.
Pages like overstuffed refrigerators, above, where you can't find anything without stuff spilling out. Pages that look like old phone books with endless tiny type.
Pages that, in this era of branding, most often follow one visual formula.
Result: no branding!
One visual formula for everyone:
Three or four columns of tiny text, a banner ad above, a navigation column on the left, no visual structure or grid to the page because nothing aligns so it jumps all over the page, with little tiny stuff everywhere you look. And where do you look? No designer directing your eye, probably because no executive was man or woman enough to decide what is important. OK. Enough. You either agree or you don't.
They use the telephone book concept of layout to promote the idea of fewer clicks.
But somehow you are always getting lost in the maze and clicking back to home page.
Combine subjects into a few digestible categories.
With "Web architects" and "Information designers," so many Web sites still look like amateur city. A top-down approach is NG. You need true wall-less collaboration. Collaboration. Between those who know how to design for effective communication. And those who know how to design for enhanced usability. Ain't the same!
Technology ain't talent.
What is a good metaphor for homepage design?
OK. Not the deadly phone book (for those who remember them).
Not a financial table.
Or overstuffed refrigerator, catalog page, busy retail ad.
How about: A book jacket.
Or a well-designed table of contents like that in Esquire
or the Sunday New York Times Magazine section.
Or the dramatic splash panel in a welldesigned comic book.
Or, visualize it, a bank of mailboxes on an apartment house wall.