Too much of a good thing
One day at the grocery store, I stumbled upon an item in the frozen aisle that caught my eye: Caramel Crunch Cookie Gelato. If it sounds like a little slice of heaven, that’s because it is. It was, by far, the best dessert I’d ever have the pleasure of eating (and I’m an avid ice cream desserter, so I know). I quickly regretted telling my husband how good it tasted when I saw that he had finished the pint-size container while I was sleeping.
So back to the store I went, on a mission to repeat the party in my mouth from the previous day. I stocked my freezer with multiple containers of my new favorite treat. And I proceeded to indulge myself the next couple of nights.
Do you want to guess what happened next? If you said, “The Caramel Crunch Cookie Gelato lost its novelty and never tasted as good,” you’d be right. (If you said, “You gained 3 pounds,” you’d be right, too.)
What does this have to do with websites? As you already know, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. It applies to ice cream, and it applies to information online.
You might be tempted to feature your top 20 products above the fold on your website, but I’m telling you that’s too many.
You may be thinking about including your bio, your customer reviews, your blog entries, your client testimonials, your Twitter feed, your Facebook stream, your company history, your employee of the month, and a list of your favorite things all on your homepage, and while all of those elements might have a place on your website somewhere, I’m here to tell you, you can’t put them all together on one flea market of a page.
Here are some things you want to make sure your website has:
- white space so the elements have breathing room
- hierarchy so the reader intuitively knows what the most important pieces are (one or two items should stand out as dominant)
- balance so the visual weight feels even (the composition does NOT have to be symmetrical)
- flow so the reader has a clear path of information to follow and does not get lost
After the fourth night of Caramel Crunch Cookie Gelato, I gave up ice cream altogether for a while. So learn from my sweet tooth. Don’t swarm your visitors with all the good stuff. Spread out all your useful information and important announcements so that people don’t give your website up completely.