In Perfect Website Land, design is simple and beautiful, with the perfect harmony of aesthetic and function. Content is relevant, wayfinding and shopping online is easy and enjoyable. Unfortunately, Perfect Website Land is often invaded by complicated content, making simplicity seem lost in a sea of confusion.
One of the major challenges we face as designers is sorting through complicated content and establishing a hierarchy of logic, all while making it look pretty. It doesn’t necessarily matter what the content is; the basic design principles still apply. When blue turns into rainbow, we need to go beyond our usual resources and look to our teammates from other disciplines to help find simplicity again.
Get client face time. Whether you’re designing an entire site or just one ad, make sure you ask the right questions and get the big picture. In a fast-paced, retail environment, changes are quick, ideas reactionary and not totally baked. It’s our job, though, to help deliver a clear and concise customer message, not to add to the mess. Often times, the bigger picture isn’t fully communicated and content isn’t polished when handed off. When content seems catapulted, check your reactionary fight-mode, hold the reins and really, truly understand the client business need and the project goal first. This is the hardest part.
Don’t Forget About Your Team!
You’re surrounded by copywriters, developers, web architects, planners and researchers. Lean on them. Collaborate with your copywriter for creative ways to simplify your message. Reach out to your developers and discover all the things you didn’t know you could do that really open boundaries for complicated content. Use your project manager; they’re loaded with rich info. All egos aside, 2 heads can be better than 1.
Perfect Website Land may be a fairytale, but designers, utilize your rich team of UX soldiers (or create one!), grow partnerships, network and collaborate to help establish messaging hierarchy so you can simplify. The design part, then, is easy.