Basic is beautiful. Ornate is overkill. This is the adage that effective websites are following these days.
The more clutter that is displayed on a website, the less likely viewers are going to stick around for long.
Even The Atlantic, Amazon and other established brands across all markets have embraced the Facebook-style, blog stream display.
Awwwards.com honors websites on their design, creativity and innovation. Every nominee on the front page is the same simple, 1-2 picture layout. The clean layouts are especially favorable where mobile usage is growing and information is gathered on a display no bigger than the palm of the reader’s hand. This is why it’s important to fill the frame with meaning, not distraction. ￼ ￼Ray Ban U.S.A.’s website seems to break this theory. It features a lot of innovative graphics, but a lot of which don’t seem to necessarily help to advertise glasses. Of course, the name alone will sell their product, so a website design might not be the biggest difference maker. Warby Parker, however, the American start up who is starting to give Ray Ban a run for its money, follows suit with the tidy display and showcases a few options against a clean white background.
Although the advertisement on CBS Radio Baltimore is busy itself, it’s distracting from the already busy layout.
New York Times is the exception that makes the rule. NYTimes.com still looks like its paper that you picked up 25 years ago. This is their brand, and this is what works for them.
Of course, they know most viewers will not read even half of what they display on their front page, but instead do know where viewers will look. An ad prominently displayed across the top catches the eye right away. The two most important stories are displayed on the top left corner and right and top middle with an accompanying image that is larger than any other story image on the page.
Scrolling downward, there’s a few pictures to accompany stories, followed by its video section, where the featured video image takes up ¾ of the page. Below that, every section of the newspaper is displayed, but in an even smaller block than the ocean of headlines up above. There’s a plethora of content, but designers know most of it won’t be read by the average viewer.
Keep your website simple. Large images draw readers in and allow for easier navigation. Clean display sells and draws readers in.