Most of us in the web design community know (or should know) that the trend in design is toward clean, no-frills design, minimizing “razzle-dazzle” in favor of a better organized information layout. Site owners would do well to look at this as well and make sure their sites are up to modern standards. But why are cleaner designs better? Here are some good reasons:

1) Site Visitors Aren’t Looking For Entertainment

Office Workers Using a ComputerUnless you are in the business of providing entertainment from your website, animations and slideshows provide little or no value. Think about it, when was the last you visited a site and were impacted in any way by some fancy animations? Your visitors are at your site seeking information and answers to their questions. They have no desire to sit and watch a slideshow. If you have products and services you wish to showcase, do it with some static images on the homepage or product page. Just don’t expect a visitor to sit through a slideshow waiting to see if you have what they want – it won’t happen. Focus your efforts on providing answers to their questions in a clear and concise way.

2) Slideshows Take Up Valuable Space

Many a site has been designed with the slideshow at the top. It was almost standard practice until recently. But if you accept that slideshows offer little value, why take up such a large chunk of that super valuable real estate at the top of a page. From a Google point of view, the further down the page a piece of content is, the less value it has. Consider scrapping the slideshow altogether.

3) Performance Impact

Slideshows and other fancy animations can have significant impact on performance. You don’t want visitors waiting for a page to load because of a slideshow or other window dressing. This is even more important for mobile users. Again, think about providing information and answers as quickly as possible.

4) Flash No Longer Supported

This should be old news for most, but Flash is not supported on many Apple products including IPhones and IPads. So this is just a waste of space. If you have any Flash on your site, get rid of it.

5) Animations Are Distracting

While some light animations, implemented in CSS or Javascript may add a bit of style to a site, too much can quickly lead to “visual noise”. If you are looking for a specific piece of information with all kinds of animations going on around you, it can be very hard to focus on your task.

Resist the urge to add “razzle dazzle” just because you can. It’s not new anymore and probably does more harm than good. Look at your site from a visitor’s perspective – is it easy to find answers to questions? Is the information well organized? If not, consider a little site clean up.

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