Sometime a Simple Design is Not the Best Choice

Support Guide's picture

I know that the trend right now is to simplify things, especially user interfaces, creating a more streamlined and focused experience. While that may be appropriate for many website and web apps, it really is not that appropriate for a support guide or knowledge base, where you are trying to find interconnected information.

In this case, it is useful to see related posts, categories, and external links along with the individual article. This extra information often helps you find information you need but did not necessarily know how to search for.

So, we may not be the prettiest or simplest website around, but hopefully the usefulness of interconnected information outweighs the clutter that it may bring to the site.

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2 Comments

Developer's picture

Work in Progress

This site is definitely a work in progress, but things are starting to shape up. :)

Developer
Complete Hosting Guide

WisTex's picture

The Type of Site Should Dictate Design

Simple and focused designs are great when you are trying to get the person to take a particular action, such as buy something, or subscribe to your newsletter, etc. In those scenarios, you get better results at funnelling them into a particular action.

If your goal is to get them to stay on your website as long as possible, then you actually want the opposite, where content is interlinked, and people have plenty of choices of content to choose from, so they don't want to or need to leave. That means more navigation, not less, and more links to related internal content.

Studies have actually been done that show that a simple design with little navigation and interlinking underperforms a content site with more internal links and more content. It shows simple sites with simple navigation simply did not keep people on the site as long.

So it's not really a battle between simple of complex design, but rather what is better if a particular situation.

Scott M. Stolz
Complete Hosting Guide, Editor-in-Chief
WisTex, Director & CEO