Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Prioritising Content In Web Design

A common habit is to show design as much as possible. Show all links at once. Show as many messages as possible. Do everything bright, bold and stand out.

While this is understandable, because you want users to be lost or not being able to find things that can be counterproductive.

The solution to this is simple in theory: you have to prioritize. But it can be difficult in practice when you have to choose which sections of the site and what messages are more important than others.

Here are some practical ideas based around this theory:
The rule of 80/20

It is estimated that only 20% of the features 80% of the time used. You have to figure out how best to use 20% of the web page that is actually being used.

Hick’s law

the time it takes to make a decision increases as the number of alternatives increases. In the design of time-critical tasks to minimize the number of options involved in the decision to reduce the response time and minimize errors.


Highlight no more than 10% of pattern visible. Highlighting the positive effects are diluted with increasing percentage. Think about it: if everyone is crying then nobody is listening!

Ockham's razor

the simplicity is preferred to complexity in the design. Think of the battle of search engines in the 1990s that Google was imposed because of the simplicity of its design. Unnecessary elements decrease efficiency designs and give users more hurdles to cross.

Scanning and skimming

the web is different than reading a book means, watch a movie or play a game. Users want information NOW so you have to say what you need in 5 words instead of 50.

If you are struggling to decide what content is actually more important than your first port of call should be your Google Analytics stats and if still in doubt some A / B tests

But if you can be a bit more ruthless when considering its design and content, then you will serve your users better and saves time in making decisions and using your website.

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