KISS: Keep It Simple ... pg 2: Production Graphics with Wendy Peck at | WebReference

KISS: Keep It Simple ... pg 2: Production Graphics with Wendy Peck at

KISS: Keep It Simple ... Following the Trends


Eddie Bauer is a full e-commence site. The entry page is shown here, with many text links.

Land's End was an early entry into the retail move to Web sales. This shot shows the lower part of an interior page, sporting many text links and teaser menu items (see Menus with Beauty and Brains).

Have you noticed how trends seem to come and go on the Web as in any other aspect of life that demands design? There are trends in home decorating, architecture and print design, so it should be no surprise that as the Web matures, trends are inevitable.

The current trend appears to be towards simplicity in commercial sites. There is a huge trend towards full Flash sites in the artistic world, but true commercial sites seem to be going more and more to simplicity. The information on each page is clearly available. Visitors can get anywhere on the site from any page with just a few clicks. Background color is as important as graphics to divide the page and create menus. Text links abound.

Even a few of my favorite, great Internet successes like Eddie Bauer and have simplified to the basics. These sites move products, and are worthy of careful study. pages are filled with simple text links to help shoppers get where they want to go, or to prompt a visit to a featured area. This is a shot of a lower portion on an interior page.

Most of us are not designing for retail giants like the companies I have featured here. But that does not mean that the principles that are used on very large sites do not apply to smaller businesses. In fact, the retail giants will attract and keep some visitors simply because of name recognition. When you have a small business, your visitors will not have that reason to stick around. Nobody will doubt the credibility of a business like Sears, but a professional front is extremely important for a business with little name recognition.



The Worldcom US page, featuring excellent design and use of space with an impressive number of links for visitor convenience.

But What About Beauty?
I will admit that the sites I have featured above are not the prettiest sites on the Web, though I do think they are attractive considering the amount of information and convenience they present for visitors. I will also admit that many of the breathtakingly beautiful sites I featured early in my writing days for this column in a series called Graphic Greats (scroll down through the index for this site), are no longer in business, or at least not on the Web. Related? Perhaps, but not hopeless.

As long as designers are working on the Web, you will find pretty pages that are easy to use. The sample at the left, Worldcom, nicely combines artistic elements, a little drama, and easy to use text links. This page includes 29 text links, 4 graphic links and a search function. I vote for this page as amazing use of space (no scroll at 800 pixel-wide display) while maintaining a highly professional and appropriate look for the page.

There are many samples like this, and I hope over the next few years that truly useful, and attractive pages will become the norm. I would not say we are there yet, but I believe the day is coming.

Help Me Gather Great Examples
In the meantime, keep your eye open for examples that feature excellent use of text menus in a pleasing graphic layout. You can help other designers with their inspiration by sending me links to sites that answer this description. If I can gather a solid collection of attractive sites worth featuring for their delivery of content and creative use of screen real estate, I will write a special article featuring the best. Please make sure that you consider all the topics I have discussed in this article before sending a link.

Moving to the Practical Application
OK, I have done my sales pitch on simplifying, and brought some impressive examples to the table. I hope you are now saying, "What do I need to know to get goin?." The good news is that you probably have all the tools in your toolbox today. Simplifying sites is more a matter of attitude than technique, but I want to pass on a few of my favorite methods for creating simple pages that work. Click on.



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KISS: Keep It Simple ... : Tutorial Index

Following the Trends
Creating Background Files
Creating Background Files 2
Tricks for Text Menus

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Created by Wendy Peck,
Created: February 6, 2002
Revised: February 6, 2002