Tag Archives: web design

Is there a fear of simplicity?

8 Nov

So I’ve been harping on and on about simplicity and all the good reasons why we need to resolve complexity and provide simplicity.  Yes – it is far easier said than done, but once you take the time and energy to really focus on something, it can be done!

What I’m starting to realise though, is that people tend to avoid simplicity in fear of appearing simple!

Using complicated terminology is to some people like driving a luxury vehicle, or wearing fancy clothes – they think it elevates them in the eyes of others. It’s a sad state of affairs.

We really don’t need to hide behind ‘hot air’ anymore.  The web has made the world a small place and has increased the need for transparency.  Let’s drop the act and say things the way they should be said.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that producing something that appears simplified is simple to produce.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  It takes time, effort and focus to create simplicity. But it is worth it!

Let’s stop using the web as a dumping ground and start adding value. Keep it simple!

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The ‘design by committee’ disaster pit

24 Aug

I have to admit that I am a slow learner!  I’ve been in web development for more than 15 years and it’s taken me about 13 of those years to realise just how damaging it can be to allow design to evolve by committee.

I’m not for a minute suggesting that good design can be created in a vacuum.  I am a firm believer in listening to user and stakeholder input.  Not only that but, by monitoring user behaviour on a site we are privy to intimate clues as to where we, as designers, are going wrong.  However a web site owner needs to be bold, to make informed decisions and follow through with those decisions. As long as your decisions are based on sensible principles, you will always be able to justify your reasons and decisions to stakeholders.

While this may all sound very obvious, it is so easy to get caught up in the need to satisfy everybody’s needs, to be accommodating to stakeholders without thinking about users and to be side-tracked into making mistakes that will land up affecting the overall success of your web site.

One thing I know for sure is that you simply cannot please all the people all of the time.  As a web site owner you absolutely have to be confident in your vision.  Keep up to date with all the latest technologies and tools and engage with your web site users.  If you are truly hands-on and work closely with your site and your team, you can only succeed.

In conclusion,a friend recently quoted Sting, saying that “Art is not a democracy, it is a dictatorship”.  I know that will sound rather harsh to the uninitiated, but for me it is a new philosophy to live by!