One of the most infamous creative directions I would hear from clients is the fact that they don’t want their users to scroll – what the H-E-Double Hockey stick – then they have the audacity to go ahead and give you a ton of information that they would like to have on the homepage, above the fold by the way (oh did I mention that they still think the fold is at 600px) – the highlight section, product information, news, showcase, current promotions, a picture of their grandmother – I can go on forever.
It is your job as the crafty creative to be able to relay the fact that people “scroll in websites,” they’ve been doing it for years… let me revise that, they’ve been doing it for decades. Tell me the last time you went on a website and didn’t find the urge to scroll down – yeah I thought so. Its natural, just like reading a book you go from left to right, top to bottom (unless your japanese).
By constraining the fact that the design should be condensed to the degree that you have to start using a 9px font to fit in all your content not only cripples your ability to have creative freedom, but you begin to develop and design a website that does not give “clear” direction.
I understand that there are pertinent information that you as a company would like to regurgitate to your users before they click off your site (aka the “bounce rate” – that’s that “OH SH!@” moment user say to themselves when they go to a website and quickly find out they were bamboozled by your cleverly designed ads) but have you ever thought that maybe its because the design is just so hard to decipher and digest due to the fact that they are exposed to a plethora of information and don’t understand where their eyes should go first (maybe the picture of your grandmother would be a good place to start) or maybe because your website looks to 1990s when it should look 2012.
Message hierarchy is key to begin laying out the a good UI/UX page architecture and creating that story that leads your users from one point to another until finally they find the urge to move forward with whatever your trying to sell them.
My point is this – and I do have a point – I understand that companies have certain messages that they would like to relay to their users on their websites, I get that, but they as clients need to understand that the users came to their website to find what they were initially looking for in a fashion that makes sense to them. Now its our rigorous task to make sure they find that information while being 100% engaged in the experience and making you, as a company, look good and up-to-date in all facets of design while doing so.
As years go by, design, just like your fashion, goes through its motions. Right now, cramming information before a 600px page fold “is SO not in”…. and sorry to say as your user’s screen resolutions continue to increase you may need to revise that number otherwise you will begin to protray a negative image of your company’s “sense of style” to the public where design is involved.
The idea that we should throw as much information as possible to get users to the purchase funnel quicker doesn’t really say much of how you really value your consumers. Your users are not idiots – they got to your landing page just fine didn’t they? Think about that the next time you create your next landing page.
Here are some good examples of website layouts that break the 600px height: