Information design can ensure the clarity of any message you want to deliver to your audience. Information design can help people to understand whatever type of information they are consuming – including complex data, tables, figures, and instructions – by making it clear and engaging.
In today’s world, establishing a compelling online presence is an essential factor in growing any business. When designing a website, focus on the impact your design can have on the people who would actually visit and use it.
Balance aesthetics and functionality to deliver the best possible user experience. Information design plays a crucial role in the design of any website.
It is the presentation of information in a way that enables readers to easily understand and use it.
Good information design transmits information in ways that enable your audience to more easily absorb it. Information design involves much more than just visual design.
How to Optimise Your Information Design
People consume a lot of information daily. They encounter information design everywhere in attempting to accomplish their objectives – whether in the real world or on the Web. A successful information design can distinguish a business’s website from those of its competitors.
Many things can influence people’s ability to consume the content on a website, including other design elements on its pages, but it is a site’s information design that has the greatest impact.
Good information design is essential to ensuring that your site’s visitors can successfully navigate the site and complete their tasks on the site – thus, avoiding frustration. Information design also enables an organisation to convey information to its desired audience.
To ensure that you can communicate clearly to your website’s visitors and deliver content more effectively, I’ll offer six ways in which you can optimise your website’s information design.
1. Start with Information Design Plan
Designing an effective website requires planning. Information design should be a key component of your plan.
You should answer some simple questions when creating an information-design plan for your site:
- Where would your audience usually go on the site?
- What content would people most often read?
- What could you do to ensure that visitors would be able to easily understand your content when reading it?
- To ensure that they would be able to retain key information?
- Could your design improve sales or other conversions?
To ensure consistency across the entire site, plan to create information-design standards and guidelines for all the different types of information you want to present on your website.
Depending on the types of information you provide, these might include guidelines for textual content, lists, tables, charts, graphs, and images. Include guidelines for the use of typography and colour for all these types of content.
Create a customer-journey map for your customers’ interactions with your site to determine the points at which optimising the information design could be crucial to their success and ensure they would have a positive experience.
2. Understand the Existing Site
When a website has already been up and running for some time, you need to make sure that you understand the site well before making any changes to optimise its information design.
Be sure that you understand the ultimate goal of the website. Read any design documentation for earlier iterations of the site. Learn how the existing information design came to be.
Immerse yourself in the website. Go through the current site’s content and functionality. Conduct an expert review to determine what parts of the website and its information design might:
- present problems to visitors.
- what information relating to visitors’ tasks is difficult to understand.
- and where the site fails to provide valuable information or essential knowledge to visitors.
If possible, conduct user research to understand site visitors better. Do usability testing to identify current issues with the site’s information design. Identify potential opportunities to improve the user experience through more effective information design.
Again, it is essential that you know what key paths your visitors engage with on your website, so you can optimise the information design for those paths and make your website significantly better.
Your website should always provide a positive user experience for visitors. Otherwise, they’ll leave your site and go to your competitor’s website instead.
3. Create a Balanced Structure
Sometimes, businesses overload their websites with dense blocks of useless, boring text. Other websites are so heavily laden with visuals that their pages seem overcrowded. Do your best to balance textual and visual information on pages.
When you are working with a considerable amount of information, think carefully about where it should appear on your website.
If you provide too many details on the home page of your website or on another landing page, your visitors will become confused or feel overwhelmed and leave your site.
On the other hand, if visitors must click too many links to get complete information that’s spread across too many pages, they still might become annoyed and leave your site.
Instead, have just enough information on landing pages to provide information then place the rest of the information on a details page.
4. Make Text Compelling to Read
The primary aim of many websites is to function as a business’s information hub on the Internet.
When prospective clients are looking for clues about what your business offers or want to know what solutions you could provide to solve their problems, they would most probably go to your site to learn more.
If your website uses too small a font size for good legibility or the colour of your text and its background colour have inadequate value contrast – for example, light grey text on a white background or dark grey text on a black background – visitors would likely leave the site after a quick glance.
Be sure to design text in a way that is compelling to your audience. For example, use run-in headings to make bulleted lists easy to scan.
5. Never Complicate Things Unnecessarily
The axiom that there is beauty in simplicity certainly applies to Web-site information design. Always remember that putting a lot of extraneous information on your website can confuse your visitors and risk your losing them.
For example, buttons and other calls to actions are key elements of your site whose purpose is to make sure you encourage your visitors to take the necessary steps to drive conversions. However, if you adorn your website with extra buttons, you’ll complicate things unnecessarily.
6. Provide Infographics
When textual data is overly complex and a bit hard to understand, it is often better provide an excellent visual that conveys the same information. Infographics can be an excellent choice to make complex, massive data easier to understand.
They are powerful tools for visualising hard-to-digest data and make that data easier and faster to analyse and interpret.
A compelling infographic that communicates exciting, perhaps unique content can deliver a concise message and highlight key information using bigger, bolder fonts.
Final Thoughts on Information Design
When you are building your organisation’s brand, you need to keep in mind that the design of your website is about more than just first impressions.
Although your website’s user-interface design is probably the first thing your visitors notice, the functionality of your site and its content matter more.
Effective information design ensures that your website conveys your message successfully – without making your users squint their eyes or scratch their heads in confusion.
Even though good information design is hard to achieve and maintain and getting it right would likely require several iterations, information design delivers a lot of value.
It can even help you understand your site’s visitors better if you study their behavior and learn how they consume your information.
This knowledge can help you improve your information design to make it even more appealing to them.