Content-heavy sites (design tips)

Recently we’ve been concentrating on sites with large amounts of content displayed on the homepage. It’s a complex job to design a site that is content heavy yet still easy to use and doesn’t overwhelm the visitor.

A site I found today was the Atkins web site (a recent diet phenomenon). It’s full of content, yet it’s still easy to use.

What follows are my tips for creating content heavy designs which are easy to use:

1. People need a place to rest the eye when they first see your page. A primary object. Youll note on the Atkins web site homepage that the primary object is a headline that says 4 Steps to a Health New Lifestyle and it is accompanied by a photo. Why is this important? Because as a visitor, I know where to start.

2. Place similar content in groups and use colors or white space to separate page elements.

3. A good test is whether you feel like reading the copy on the page. It should be easy to scan the page and find something interesting. If it feels like a big blob of text, something is wrong.

4. Clear and easy navigation. I shouldnt have to squint to see the navigation. It should be a primary portion of the page.

5. Use a limited color pallet.

6. Use structure. All of the sites that are well done have a very solid structure to them.

Some more examples of content heavy sites that I feel accomplish all of these rules well include: PalmOne, Martha Stewart, John Kerry,, NASA, General Electric.

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