Web Design Tip: Avoid Publishing Useless Information

A web page is a fantastic platform for communicating with the entire digital world. Avoid wasting a visitor’s time by bombarding him or her with useless information.

Here are a few examples of useless information and preferred solutions for the best possible visitor experience:

Say you add a section to the top of your web page called “Announcements” but you don’t have any announcements yet so you have the phrase “no current announcements” listed under the section called “Announcements”. All of this verbiage is taking up real estate and is only wasting time for visitors because the empty announcements section is forcing the visitor to read text that provides no value. If there are no announcements, then refrain from displaying the announcements section. Only display the announcements section when there are actual announcements.

Say you have a link on a web page, or in the left navigation. The visitor clicks on the link only to reach a web page that reads “Under Construction”. This action wasted a visitor’s time, multiply the time wasted by one user by the number of all visitors to the web page in a given year and an astronomical amount of time has been wasted because a web page simply stating “Under Construction” provides no value. Avoid providing links like this. If a web page is not ready then avoid linking to the web page all together. If you want to give visitors a sneak peak of what is to come, simply state something like “Coming Soon” next to some content, avoid making the user click on something only to have him or her then discover there is nothing of value to be read.

Electronic Devices, No Escape

When the FAA announced they would allow the use of most electronic devices throughout flights, I cringed. Based on what I personally witness or see on the news (ex. people talking loudly on phones while using disgusting language, freaks taking photos or video of unsuspecting strangers, texting in the middle of an in-person conversation), I was not thrilled at the prospect of being at 30,000 feet and in close proximity of such behavior.

I have been taking flights since I was a child. I try to savor every second of the glorious views from my window seat. To see Earth from such a vantage point is a treat that I hope I am fortunate enough to experience many times over before I reach my expiration date.

Part of the experience of flight, before electronic devices, was almost church-like because, for the most part, people would talk to one another in soft tones or people would quietly read. The only infrequent distractions were the occasional adorable baby crying or the drunken adult making outrageous demands because he or she did not get a bag of peanuts.

I had to fly to Maryland and Ohio last weekend. The weather was perfect and I had window seats on all flights. All of my in-flight activities were in my purse: knitting, a novel writing journal and a good book. I was looking forward to the trip and the peaceful solitude.

While boarding the first flight, I was shocked at how quickly the environment turned sour. I had not even reached my seat when I had to listen to a man behind me shout, cuss and gossip on his mobile phone to some unfortunate sole about everyone he worked with. He dressed like a professional business man yet he sounded like a paranoid idiot when he spoke into his mobile phone. Fortunately the man did not sit anywhere near me and I was able to enjoy the rest of the flight.

I hope people, like the man I encountered on my last flight, will loosen his or her dependency on electronic devices long enough to enjoy special moments in life before it is too late. We are only here once (possibly), and life is flying by faster than any plane I have ever been on.

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