The Importance of Simplicity in Websites
I was reading an interesting article at the weekend about a psychological experiment that looked at they way we all deal with choices. Two stalls were set up in a shopping centre, each one selling a range of mayonnaises. One stall had a choice of 32 different types of mayonnaise and the other had a choice of only 6. Unsurprisingly, the stall which had the much larger choice attracted many more passers by than did the stall with less choice. Interestingly, the stall with fewer choices far outsold the stand with more choices.
More choices means fewer decisions
This points to a very interesting psychological effect that increasing choice has on all of us. The standard by which we judge the choice of items raises to a large degree. This allows us to dismiss large numbers of choices immediately so that we can reduce it down to a number we can deal with much more easily. However, in raising this standard, it also reduces the chances of us making a final selection at all.
The other effect is that with so much choice, we may feel we need longer to think about it. So may put off making a purchase today which ultimately means we probably will not buy at all.
The indecipherable websites
In learning these principles, it is easy to then apply them to the creation of your own website. I see many websites each day and so many of them are difficult to fathom. There is a menu at the top, down the left hand side, down the right hand side and some at the bottom. Oh and there is another menu at the very top on the right hand side that I didn't see before. Hovering over that item brings even more choices. Sound familiar?
I am sure that many companies who continue to have their sites structured in that way are egged on by the type of results they get which you could compare to the stall with 32 different types of mayonnaise. It looks impressive and attracts lots of visitors. I am sure also, that it converts some visitors. But the question they should be asking themselves is "is their website effective?".
Clean, clear, concise, crisp Web Design
Keeping your message clear and simple and keeping the design of your website simple and clean can go a long way to making it so easy for your visitors to find what it is that they are looking for and to take that further step towards becoming a customer.
Now that I can see the psychological research that supports this theory, it enthuses me even more towards the simplicity and logic that should be behind the structure of all websites.
Wed 11 May 2011 13:51:41