Elementary Principles of Web Design

"Principle 13: Omit Unnecessary Stuff

"Vigorous Web Design is concise. A page should contain no unnecessary stuff, a nav bar no unnecessary choices, for the same reason a sentence should have no unnecessary words and a machine no unnecessary parts."

With apologies to William Strunk and E.B. White.

 One of the producers just came in with a redesign proposal for one of our sites. We went over the page, mostly deleting, deleting, deleting, when I recalled some stuff I scraped this morning from Amazon.

Look at the progression of the famous Amazon horizontal nav, the tabs that launched a thousand imitators.

Amazon circa 99 


Amazon in '01



Today, less is more

AdTension | Doc Searls’ IT Garage

AdTension | Doc Searls’ IT Garage

"There are some other cases of value-increasing advertising. For trade and fashion magazines, the advertising often serves as a form of editorial."

What I said in the previous post — the prevalent pageview model is further toast if Adblocking takes off. And it will. Look at the conniptions caused by DVR technology so people like me can blast over the commercials. I’ve seen surveys of site readers where as many as 75% claim to be deploying ad blockers — no popup blockers — but ad blockers.

Doc is right — it’s the old Cluetrain Manifesto central tenet of the conversation with the audience, not treating them like anonymous eyeballs. 

Death of the Page View Model

Marketers See Opportunity as a Web Tool Gains Users – New York Times

While the silent avalanche of online sweeping over print that has overtaken many MSM publishers in the past two years continues, another equally dramatic shift is hanging over online itself, threatening a publishing model that has sustained the business for the last decade.

I speak of the pageview, that holy measurement that combined with unique visitors represents the canon of reach and popularity among publishers and marketers.

In the vaunted world of Web 2.0, the pageview is dead, done in first by the search driven behavior of users who avoid branded-browsing (typing in URLs and flocking to known sites) and do rifle-shots based on keyword and keyphrase-driven "need" sessions; and now by the "Tivofication" of the online experience thanks to RSS.

Matt McAlister, the online GM at InfoWorld, has sounded the alarm that old online models of building audience and attempting to build pages viewed per sesssion from 2 to 3, to beyond is at risk thanks to the user-aggregated time shifting brought on by RSS and podcasting.

While RSS advertising is at its infancy — think of the days when HotWired started serving 468×60 banners in ’95 — publishers need to start freaking out now, not later, and give up any shred of hubris that they will be able to build audiences within their sites.

The implications of this sift from building pages to building streams is huge, and will have a big ripple-down effect on infrastructure from content management to measurement.

The fact that InfoWorld is now pushing all of its content down the RSS pipe is an indication of McAlister’s conviction that the avalanche is ready to start rolling.

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