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I want to make a website, but I have too many important elements for that. I tried to simplify the structure, but it became boring to look at and tiresome to navigate.

Is there a rule or tip for finding the balance?

Is there a maximum of meaningful elements on a page, in general?

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There are no rules that will magically create a nicely designed site for you. These questions aren't bad questions, but impossible to answer without knowing the full context of the design problem (which includes things like the content, objectives, audience, etc.) –  DA01 Jan 21 '13 at 19:26

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

This question is currently a bit ambiguous and difficult to answer, but I'll give it my best shot.

Less is more

While designing a website, one of the top priorities is to design it with your audience in mind, as they will be the ones using it after all. I'd say in some rare exceptions you can get away with making a website more complicated, but I'd say 9 times out of 10, keep a website as simple as possible.

Some things to keep in mind when designing a website is that, if a user has never been to your website, and they are not sure what your website is about, can they identify what it is that your website has to offer in just a few seconds? People except results incredibly fast these days and if your website makes it difficult to figure out what it's all about, you're losing a lot of potential visitors.

That being said, how accessible is your website? It is still made with 100% flash? Are you using some crazy experimental HTML and CSS that hasn't become standard among all major browsers (sans IE of course)? Are you using some other crazy plug-ins that people may have to download? All these things may make your website more difficult for people as well, and by extension, less desirable.

There is no absolute rule or "ideal" when it comes to web design. Sure, there may be preferred methods and suggested standards as to where your logo should go, or your primary navigation, etc. But design in general is very open ended.

At the end of the day I would suggest that you design something and have as many people give it a run through and collect as much feedback as you can. After all, the users of your website will know what they want. But take their feedback with a grain of salt, because not everyone will know what will make a website better.

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A great answer. One thing I would add is to usually have one main Call to Action, or if there are multiple ones, to make sure there is a hierarchy between them. –  Yisela Jan 21 '13 at 20:29

I think it's useful to consider that a user's attention span is a limited resource - a pie you can slice up as much as you like, but that wont get any bigger.

Sure, it's easy to add another item to a page, but your user probably won't add more visiting time or attention to your page. In other words, everything else on the page loses a little more focus when you add something new.

In fact, a more complicated page will take longer to parse and prioritise. That time will invariably come out of the time they would have spent doing more valuable things for you (i.e. reading your content, subscribing, purchasing, responding, etc).

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