I’m a detail person. The more information, the better.
I’m an options person too. I like choices.
At least that’s what I used to think. Perhaps you do to. But it’s not true.
For the most part, we think we want more information and more choices, but the reality is that we are busy. We tend to skim rather than read. We want articles, instructions, and web pages to get to the point. And fast.
We think we want choices, but research shows the more choices we have the more difficult it is to make a decision and the less satisfied we are when we do make a decision because we’re unsure we made the best one. (See The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz for more on this).
This may seem counter-intuitive, but Kem Meyer posted a graphic on her blog that illustrates this brilliantly (see above).
The “less is more” principle applies to all aspects of an organization – print pieces, internal processes, the services you offer, options available, and more – but I’m going to focus on websites.
Here are some indicators a website needs to be simplified.
- The homepage is more than 2 screens long.
- Any other page is more than 4 screens long.
- A navigation menu has more than 7 items in it.
- A form is more than one screen long.
If you find these things on your site it’s time to pull out the hatchet and start whacking away and reorganizing. Be relentless!
If you think everything on your website is simple and perfectly clear, then do some usability tests to get someone else’s perspective on it.