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Reduce visual clutter to improve usability

By MaryWeilage Editor ·
This week's Design and Usability Tactics e-newsletter explains how you can reduce visual clutter on Web sites to improve usability.

Do you think your Web site could use some design reorganization? What do you think are the most common reasons for cluttered site designs, especially on the home page? If you have first-hand experience with tidying up a Web site's design, please offer advice to your peers. Talk about cluttered design.

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example?

by shp42 In reply to Reduce visual clutter to ...

Hi,

Can you recommend an example of a high-content website that has an uncluttered homepage and a successful "low-click" organization structure?
Do successful low-click designs differ based on the type of website? (educational, retail, etc)

Thank you for your helpful and accessible newsletters!

--Sharon Pearce

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One example

by Meadhra In reply to example?

It's certainly not a perfect example of the ideal home page, but the Symantec site (http://www.symantec.com/) does manage to pack a lot of information into its home page while keeping it fairly clean and well-organized. In addition to the usual logo, graphic, nav bar, product blurbs, etc., Symantec includes announcements and headlines on the latest virus threats with full details only one click away.

Michael Meadhra

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Sin 31 of cluttered homepages

by JeremyD In reply to Reduce visual clutter to ...

While I agree with much of the article, one additional reason for cluttered Homepages and confusing navigation is internal politics! The cleanest and most user focused of layouts quickly becomes cluttered when a head of department wants to squeeze their way into the Homepage real estate and launch date is looming.

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Re: Reduce visual clutter to improve usability

by frank_vollono In reply to Sin 31 of cluttered homep ...

> Sin 31 of cluttered homepages
>While I agree with much of the article, one >additional reason for cluttered Homepages and >confusing navigation is internal politics! The >cleanest and most user focused of layouts quickly >becomes cluttered when a head of department wants >to squeeze their way into the Homepage real >estate and launch date is looming.
>
>From: JeremyD Date: 04/21/04

Great point Jeremy. Many times my initial designs are cluttered because every department head wants to have their content 'on top' of the page. Also there are those with the philosophy of the less clicks the user has to make the better. I'm not saying that is totally wrong, but it does add to screen clutter.

FrankV

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Use local anchors

by gnagy In reply to Reduce visual clutter to ...

I absolutely agree with the article. I also think that this tendancy is a result of
higher bandwidth. It has allowed designers to get sloppy. Back when bandwidth was limited,
you couldn't design a cluttered page like that and expect anybody to wait for it to finish
loading.

An unfortunate example of this clutter you describe is Amazon.com's details page describing
a book or other media. These pages contain 19 individual sections with no way to navigate
quickly to them. You must scroll or use page up/down keys to get to any of them.

Have web designers simply forgotten about
local anchors? I rarely see them being used
anymore even though they are needed more than
ever. Until I started writing this reply, I had
never looked through the entire amazon.com
product detail page. It was just too cluttered
and difficult to navigate.

A simple row or two of local links repeated
throughout the page (a technique that used to be
VERY common) would alleviate this problem very
gracefully.

Thanks for the great article!

G.F. Nagy

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Clutter Free is the Way to Be!

by Inevitable1 In reply to Use local anchors

After reading this article, I proceed to de-clutter my home page (hence my delay in posting a reply). I feel much better now :-D and I think my visitors will benefit from it too. I plan on further de-clutterizing it and making it more visitor friendly -- I don't think I need all of the copywriting -- but I'm undecided as to how much to get rid of at this point in time.

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