Dragged Down by Clutter

No, this isn't a post about hoarders, although that's certainly an interesting, if often gross, subject of inquiry. But I point you to this short article by Seth Godin wherein he observes that digital marketers (i.e. anyone with a website) seem to [eventually] make a universal mistake: because web space is essentially unlimited, they seek to fill it, as Nature rushes to fill a vacuum. And because the addition of such content is rarely thought out or justified by actual business considerations, it becomes clutter - useless distraction, and perhaps even worse than useless if it keeps clients and customers from getting what they want.

I especially like this observation: In fact, more clutter is a permanent shift, a desensitization to all the information, not just the last bit. A cluttered website, Godin claims, doesn't simply minimize the value of the added "information," it reduces the usefulness of all the surrounding content.

One of my goals as a designer of websites is to keep things simple and uncluttered. It's harder than you might think. Just as people tend to be uncomfortable around pauses in conversation, website clients are often uncomfortable with so-called white space (although clutter comes in different forms, not just in the cramming of additional design elements into the canvas). My challenge is often in convincing them to look at their sites through their audience's eyes.

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This page contains a single entry by Eric published on December 8, 2010 8:05 AM.

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