For the most people a likeable website usually means a good graphic design. But what’s pleasant for the eyes doesn’t necessary result in a useful website. It’s like hiring a giraffe to take care of your new website project. Despite how it might seem a high-skilled giraffe, it’s still too tall to reach the ground. And on the ground resides a very simple goal to make the information easily reachable and amplified throughout the overall visit on the website.
How should Zeko.me look like was a hot topic in our kitchen these days and we came up with a few principle giraffe rules. Today I would like to outline the three fundamental rules that we follow:
Giraffe Rule No.1 – Navigation.
We believe the average visitor doesn’t have much time for exploring content into deep. Visitors usually click throughout the menu options when we can impact on their comfortability perception. Therefore, the primary navigation menu should never exceed 5 items, no matter how complex a website is. We also use the conditional secondary menu with another up to 5 items. And preferable it is not to be visible on the home page.
That gives us the best opportunity to quickly drive-in visitors. We put everything else we consider not so much important or trendy in the “can’t fit in our 25 menus” category. That means we use our back burner – search option, tiny footer links, side contextual menus and other non-dominant composition entities.
Giraffe Rule No.2 – Graphic design.
We see the colors and images as information amplifiers, not as website-coolness assets. We never use any kind of website’s composition elements with a complex graphic design outside of an information center. It might distract visitors from reading the important content. Flat design is a perfect-match design. We use strong titles to get attention to the information we want them to focus on. Content titles are usually followed by the big-high-quality image so we could instantly establish a comfortable place to stay.
Afterwards, visitors will more likely continue to read the content we provide. And for sure they will easier remember content later. That’s the essence of implementing graphic design into websites - to amplify and better communicate the content, not to advertise a fast-running giraffe right?
Giraffe Rule No.3 – Be Responsive.
People browse websites using various mobile devices. I know you knew this, but are you aware of it all the time? They see page content through different window sizes. Now, would everyone want bigger window in their pocket? Yes, they certainly would. Not every navigation menu or graphic design is suitable for a particular window size. We try to make the viewing window bigger for our visitors in respect to the content we want them to see and not only to fit all our cool composition elements somewhere on the screen. It’s a big difference in approach.
For the smaller viewing window we hide all navigation menus behind a hamburger button and place a search next to it at the top screen position. That gives as a fair tradeoff in information accessibility on mobile devices. There is only one simple truth: there is no time for visitors to stay and cope through the bunch of distracting details when using mobile devices with smaller screens. Hence, on smaller screens we start a page immediately with the size-adjusted content title, followed by the width-adaptive featured image and the content itself fitting the whole screen perfectly.
(I think I’m hearing giraffe’s snorts, bleats, mooing and mewing sounds right now. I should go.)