A website design is closely identified with the reliability and trust in the content of a site. Most of us can think of the sites that are poorly designed and the content reflects this haphazard choices, got to any of a thousand conspiracy or half developed personal sites and you’ll find some of the most ill designed sites and content that reflects this obvious lack in judgement. Unfortunately the problem of design choices is flowing over to even well designed sites in an attempt to make sites more social.
More content owners are wishing to make it easier for people to share their content in a well meaning attempt to attract more readers, unfortunately I think they are ruining the thing that people are most interested in, the content itself.
Here’s a site that’s obviously has been thought out and is actually looks quite nice, except for all the social media widgets cluttering up the screen and distracting from the site/content itself. The worst part of this whole thing is that for all the care and attention fostered at this site’s design all those widgets are clearly not part of the original design and hence slapped on top of the design and thus wind up looking and feeling totally out of place.
Perhaps the worst part is how the site has several nag boxes for trying to get you to subscribe. I mean seriously, how often do you need to ask me to subscribe, once very reasonable, twice I’ll let you get away with it, but five separate locations for either the RSS button, a link or something else in an attempt to get more subscribers. It’s overdrawn. The best part though has to be the ad boxes that are empty yet still wind up being displayed.
I can understand and sympathize with content producers wanting to make it easy for people to share their content, but please remember a couple of ground rules:
- Your site is a reflection of the content
- If you cared enough to go through the work/effort to get a good looking site, why destroy in 2 minutes with some stupid widget that looks nothing like the rest of your site
- You can get away with nagging me once, maybe even twice after that you, well desperate seems a good adjective
- Perhaps most importantly, the easiest way to improve usability is make it easier to read your site not harder