My Top 8 Principals of Excellence in Website Design

Some time ago – I wrote here that ‘simple is better than better’. It cuts through the shouting of car dealerships, the obnoxiousness of infomercials and the hype of ambulance chasers. BMW for example has never been confused with being economical simply because they make one product – ‘the ultimate driving machine’. Another example makes the statement that in ’15 minutes or less, you could save 15% on insurance’ and go so far as to use a caveman as a spokesperson to drive home the simplicity idea.

The same is true for great website design. Remember as a child – you’d draw landscapes and represent birds in the sky with a single line? That line, an organic symbol with a slight dip int he middle communicated everything you needed to know – it was certainly not winter, it was not raining, and the scene was certainly lush with everything a bird could desire – trees, water and life.

My principals for excellence in website design are grounded in the Gestalt traditions – that design should center around functionality and the aesthetic.

Excellence in website design is:

  • honest
  • simple
  • innovative
  • aesthetic
  • thorough
  • unobtrusive
  • long-lasting
  • understanding

Great website design is so obvious, clean and perhaps even perfect – that’s its so misunderstood and unappreciated by society. The process of arriving at such simplicity is greatly unappreciated and could not exemplified more than when Mark Twain wrote ‘If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter’. The process of achieving excellence in anything is grueling including website design. It requires a certain disposition to be comfortable with mistakes and the willingness to make as many mistakes in an effort to find a potential solution. The art of website design is knowing which mistakes to keep.