I’m constantly waging a battle for simplicity. Simplicity does not have to mean modular grids, black text, and a white background. Nor does it mean boring. In my mind, simplicity equates to clarity, and a succinct vision for the goal of a project. Aside from my personal taste in aesthetic simplicity and visual clarity, finding rational reason for simplicity helps to clarify its usefulness in design.
If a website has a large amount of content on the homepage, I have to ask, why? If the site is a publication, blog, or a website that is meant to provide the user with content, and provide large amounts of articles and writing, then I can buy into that model. However, throwing tons of information onto a site’s homepage does not make the site (or the company) a success.
Aarron Walter describes this in his book, Designing for Emotion. Walter explains:
Every time we add content to an interface, it makes it harder for humans to identify patterns and contrasting elements. The result is more unpredictable user behavior, and lower information retention. - Aarron Walter, Designing for Emotion
When considering your site, before getting completely bogged down by the needs of internal committees, department requirements and bureacracy of your company or brand, keep one clear goal in mind for your site. What is the site trying to achieve? Let the answer to that question be the driving force for your site. A brand and a website cannot be everything to everyone (unless you want it to fail). Define your user, the goal of your site, and keep checking in with those identifiers as you progress with your site. Unless the actual purpose of the site is to display large amounts of news, information, or images, then excess content can and will become visual clutter.
written by @juliajamieson