This article will focus on web design, although much of the discussion applies to other types of design.
When handling design, my two tenets are: functionality and simplicity.
All Design is for Functionality
Design only exists because there is functionality behind the design. When we remember that functionality, we can create better design that helps people understand its use. This applies to projects, products, and all manners of design.
A Empty Room Has No Functionality
Let’s take for example interior design. If we were to stand in an empty living room, it wouldn’t be a living room. It would be an empty room. The potential is limitless because we have yet to apply functionality. If we were to add in two desks and two chairs at the center of the room, we have created an office space. But if we added in a couch, a coffee table, and a television instead, we have created our living room.
The same goes for functionality on a website. When designing a website, it’s important to consider its functionality and goal. Most websites follow a very simple functionality: keep your user engaged. This engagement can lead to a form-fill or a potential purchase if you design your website well, which leads to…
Simple is Memorable
Websites only have 8 seconds to capture someone’s attention before they leave your site. This means that you have to make your design clear and concise, or as I call it – simple. Having the header, navigation, body, and footer clearly delineated helps the visitor easily navigate your site.
If we look back at our room example, if we had two desks, two chairs, two couches, a coffee table, and a television all put in the same room, we could consider this room storage. It’s hard to recognize what the functionality of the room is when there’s too much clutter.
The same goes for web design. If there’s too much information or too many options (20 navigation choices in the header is very daunting), then the visitor is most likely to leave because they won’t know what else to do.
Apply these tenets to web design and your clients will appreciate your work much more.
If you’re wondering how functionality and simplicity apply to logo design, that’s a discussion for another time.