Why Go To A Website?

I wanted to talked today about an important question when designing/building a website, or anything really, Why?  Why would someone use this website?  A really simple question that can get lost very quickly.

I bring this up, because it recently happened to me.  I needed a re-design for a popular website I work on.  The current design was over a year old and very basic.  I wanted to build something new, something modern, something that used all the new web technologies I read about.  I quickly got lost in feature creep.

It was easy to think of cool things I could add to the site.  I soon had a feature filled site that was a pain to use.   There was plenty of ajax, javascript and jquery, HTML5, CSS3, and sharing links for every social network you could want.  Things that allowed the user to do everything they could want, but quickly drowned the main focus of the site.

I had to step back and ask myself, “would I use this site?”  The answer was No.  The original site became a success on simplicity.  It was easy to use and easy to navigate.  That is what I should have been building on.

After this brief insight, I quickly began taking out the meaningless features and returned to accentuating the core functions of the website.  Pick one thing your site does.  Every feature you add from there should aid the main focus of the site.

The new design needed to be about what users already do on the site, and make those functions even easier.

Here are some tips to avoid the trap I fell into next time you’re building a site.

So there is my two cents on the subject of website design.  Hopefully this will help you avoid getting stuck in the design limbo I was in, and design the right site from the start.

Want to discuss? Message me on Twitter (@swoicik) or at stephen [at] woicik.me

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