Put important things first.

Web usability is always about returning to basics.


November 28, 2023


Steve Berry

Put important things first.

I frequently encounter organizations grappling with complex challenges. Many of these problems stem from disregarding basic web design and communication fundamentals. The key to enhancing user experience lies in simplicity and prioritization.

Prioritize the Important

Put important things first. This seems obvious, yet many websites fail at this initial hurdle. Clarity is paramount. Avoid burying essential information behind qualifiers or vague terms. Communicate directly and meaningfully.

The Importance of Left-hand Scan Lines

A critical usability heuristic is the creation of clear left-hand scan lines. Users typically scan web pages from the left, looking downward, searching for keywords or items of interest. Once located, their attention shifts right to read the related content. This pattern, known item searching, is crucial for effective web navigation.

Case Study: Casper Sleep

An illustrative example is the early web design of Casper Sleep. Initially insecure about their product range, they highlighted 'The Mattress' in their navigation and displayed their other products as 'Pillows' and 'Sheets.' Their reasoning was to promote the singularity of the awesomeness of their mattress product.

The web is a rough and tumble experience consumed on screens of all sizes in every location around the world. Nobody is going to catch that minutia, let alone read it. Simplify! Remove the 'The'! Every element in the navigation should clearly signal its importance and relevance.

Embrace Simplicity

Web usability is always about returning to basics. Prioritize important content, communicate clearly, and structure your website to align with natural scanning patterns. The most effective solutions are always the simplest.

Steve Berry
Principal, Thought Merchants

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