Home ยป A Hierarchy of Simplicity

A Hierarchy of Simplicity

Here is a hierarchy of content starting from the most simple and moving to the most complex.

  • Text on a page
  • Photographs
  • Graphic designs
  • Video
  • eCommerce

Text on a page
There is nothing more basic to the Web than plain text on the page. It is the foundational building block of a website. It is possible to have a website with only text on a page.

Photos are one step up from text. It is so easy to add images to the website. Over the past several years it has become increasingly easy to get a high quality image and get it onto your site. Photographs illustrate the text, but require more interpretation from the viewer than plain text on a page.

Graphics are more complex and subjective than photographs. They require more skill, time, and thought in their placement.

Video is interesting. It is relatively easy to create a video but difficult to do well. It is less clear then text on a page but more clear than a photo. So it comes in somewhere between. But this is a list on simplicity, not clarity.

Creating a shop online, or even just selling a few products, is the most complex because it involves the introduction of more systems than just the website. It requires a front end and a back end setup. It also means a lot more work for you in terms of maintenance and security.

If you are creating a website, I encourage you to move up the scale of simplicity, from basic to complex.

Based on certain factors (website goals, target audience, etc.), can you put text on a page and stop there? If you can then you should. Your site will be faster to load and easier to consume and share. If you need more than text on a page to reach your goals, move up a level in complexity.

At each level it would be wise to ask the question, “Can we stop at this level of complexity?” How simply can you tell or show the information without compromising the clarity of the message?

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