The Best Web Design

Is the simplest design.

It’s one of those concepts that we all learn the hard way—even a giant corporation like Microsoft, who has recently announced the new design of its MSN homepage. Here’s what the website looks like right now:

 

msnbefore

Before

 

And here’s what it’s supposed to look like in early 2010, according to CNET.

 

msnafter

After

 

You would think that a giant business like Microsoft would have figured out a long time ago that, in the world where netizens spend 2 seconds moving their eyes across the entire news article, clear is the new clever. But as the evolution of MSN slideshow suggests, Microsoft didn’t get it. Besides its first-launch page—which was badly designed, by the way—MSN has always had too many links, too much text, and all these other jumbles in its page. It tried modernizing the design. Still cluttered. It made the page sleeker and more interactive. Still cluttered. Finally, after many complaints from the customers that the “site was both dated and overstuffed with links,” Microsoft decides to revolutionize MSN and take out 50% of the links on the existing site.

Still, the key to increase a Web site’s popularity is to stay relevant, which brings us back to the same old topic: social media. Well, folks, if a stubborn giant like Microsoft finally gives into the power of Facebook and Twitter and devotes a the right column of its site to the applications, we would be unwise to not do the same—embrace the social media. Microsoft even takes a step further by pulling the contents from Fox Sports, Hulu, and Hearst to satisfy its customers. And although the company still lags far behind Google in the search market (Google has a share of 64.6% while Microsoft holds 9.4%), it hopes the new design will draw more users to its site and its baby Bing.

So, remember. If you want to be successful on the internet, don’t put all your contents on one page because no one wants to scan through clutter. (Oh, don’t forget to include FB and Twitter Apps, either.) Yes, minimalist design is good, but as long as you don’t go overboard and make your site look like this:

 

minimalist

This is how my site will look like with the extreme minimalist design: dysfunctional.

 

 

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4 responses to “The Best Web Design

  1. There’s a saying that goes, “Think more. Design less.”

    While minimalist design is certainly less overwhelming than say, the Huffington post, it’s not necessarily about putting only three things on a page. It’s about being smart. Develop a system that can be easily updated without throwing users off. Include applications so word gets out about your page’s content. And, most importantly, make it user-friendly. After all, your competitor’s website is only a click away.

    • So, what do you think about the Huffington Post is smart, even when it’s not following the minimalist design? How is it user-friendly?

    • Allison makes a good point that the degree to which a website is user-friendly is what can make or break it. For example, the search feature on USA Today is horrible. The site might be designed well, but it is difficult to find articles. It is quicker to type “USA Today + (insert headline here)” into Google than to search on its site. I think that’s a little counter-productive and confusing, given that Google is the search provider for the paper’s website. I’m confused. If anyone else knows the secret, I’d like to hear it.

      In regards to Bing: I think the notion of trying to start new search engines can be somewhat futile. We’re to a point where “Google” is a verb. They clearly have a corner on that market. So, unless a new search provider has a totally different way of searching or directing traffic, I wouldn’t want to compete against the Google giant.

  2. Clear is definitely the new clever. I hate going to websites were it takes me longer to navigate them than to actually read what I spent so much time looking for. And bravo for Microsoft taking the big step, (or bound), and adding applications to its site. It will draw more traffic to their site and fulfill their users’ wants and needs–in ever category. Smart I say. In the end the company needs to satisfy their customer. And if that means giving in to social media and redesigning their site–then that’s what needs to happen. Way to kick start what will soon become a mass transition I can only assume.

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