Simple website design means focusing on the user experience, and creating the most direct, accessible website possible.
Principles of simple website design
- Use technology appropriately. Flash is a good example. Used correctly, it can add interest and interactivity to a site. When used incorrectly, it is an annoyance at best and at worst can make your site unaccessible to a wide audience. A technology is appropriate when it adds value to at least some of your audience and takes away value from none of your audience. Never use a technology just because it is new.
- If there are multiple ways to solve a problem, use the most simple and accessible. I've seen sites that create links using Java-script. Yes, this works in many instances, but why recreate a functionality that already exists in HTML? There is no purpose to it. If basic HTML will work 100%, and your new solution works 75% or even 95% of the time - clearly the basic HTML is a superior solution. Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.
- Eliminate unnecessary elements. Look at your website as if you were using it for the 1000th time. Would that animated graphic still look cute? Would that Flash intro still impress? Make sure each graphical element adds to the site and does not detract.
- Anything necessary to navigation or information gathering should load quickly and be as accessible as possible. If you want to add flashy effects on top of that, they should exist in addition to the basic site structure and information, not in place of it.
Benefits of simple websites
- Your viewers get the information they want quickly and easily.
- Search engines navigate your site and list it quickly and completely.
- You get a quick, cost-effective, easy to maintain solution.