Column Overload in Web Designs – A Look

Columns can be very effective in web design, but in some cases, they can actually be counterproductive. With the growing focus on minimalist web design, the column has started to become less popular. According to Web Design Depot, websites from 2005 to 2007 often incorporated as many as five columns on a single page. While it’s not as common to see five columns on a single page these days, some websites still get into column overload. Additionally, many sites do not lend themselves well to columns all.

Splitting the Focus

One of the biggest problems with columns is the fact that they split the viewer’s focus. Columns vie for the viewers’ attention, and when the columns are of equal size, it can be confusing for the viewer to decide which one she should give priority to. The problem becomes even greater when the webpage has more than three columns, each one with images, videos, and other multimedia inputs.

When designing your website and your eCommerce store, you must think of the design as pushing the viewer toward your final call to action. Think of every obstacle as being an opportunity for that viewer to leave the page. Columns break up the focus, and the breaking of the focus jars the viewer from the browsing experience. In that moment, she can decide to go to another webpage or eCommerce store. It doesn’t matter if you’re using the newest and greatest iPhone website template, breaking the focus makes it more likely that you will lose that viewer.

Best for Breakdowns

The column has not outlived its usefulness yet. Instead, it has a very narrow function in modern minimal web design. The column works well when used provide a breakdown. For instance, eCommerce stores use columns to provide a breakdown of the various product categories they offer. This breakdown sometimes is nothing more than a header in the column with an image underneath. These kinds of columns tend to work well, so long as they are not fighting with one another. If one needs to be dominant, only one can be highlighted in terms of size or coloration. You must make the others more neutral.

Columns can also work for news stories. A number of eCommerce stores use columns to categorize subjects such as news, latest additions, and the like. As long as they follow the same pattern of having minimal content in the column, viewers will not be too distracted. Remember that you should not use columns on a squeeze page or a sales page of any kind. The disruption of the viewing process is too great, and you will substantially reduce the effectiveness of your sales pitch.

While columns used to be quite popular, they have decreased significantly over the past few years. The increased focus on minimal web design has also led to a further decrease in column use. The main problem with columns is the fact they split up the viewer’s focus. The columns compete for attention, and with each obstacle, it becomes more likely that you will lose the viewer. To avoid this, you need to avoid using columns except for narrow breakdowns that link to other pages.

Avoid Begging in Your Web Design

When you’re trying to convince people to come to your eCommerce store, it may be easy to fall into begging. Unfortunately, few things annoy users more than the begging advertising platform. Make sure that you eliminate begging as much as possible. Here are some key ways that you can do that.

Provide Value in Everything on Your Website

Begging is not the only way to engage potential viewers and convince them to be customers. It’s much more effective to convince your viewers that you have what they want, but you don’t have to stoop to begging for their business. One of the best ways to do this is by providing value in everything on your website. Avoid using stock “buy this now” sales pitches. Instead, show people using your products. Make them appealing to your target audience. Provide content that includes information on how your target audience can solve their problems.
Try to appear as you are not intent on making a sale. Have a website design that draws the reader attention to the site and not the product.

Never Use Guilt in Images or Text

Guilt is an iffy emotion in marketing. According to “The Dark Side of Guilt,” customers may respond initially to it, but you run the risk of alienating them. Cut out the sad-eyed pictures and the guilt-tripping requests. You don’t want your customers to decide that the only way to avoid those negative feelings is to avoid your eCommerce store entirely. It’s better to focus on positive emotions whenever you can. People like feeling good, and they like businesses or services that make them feel that way.

Watch Out for This Phrase

Avoid asking people to do things. Questions like “will you please be our friend?” or “could you be a friend and share this?” tend to sound like begging. Instead, keep your text confident. You will want to include social media sharing options in your web design, but keep the requests brief and to the point. Don’t make it sound as if your customers are doing you a favor. You can just leave the buttons there. They can figure out what they’re for.
Asking people to buy your products or come to your eCommerce store might seem like the most straightforward way to get them to come and make a purchase. Often times though, it sounds like little more than begging. It’s important to avoid this as it tends to annoy customers and keep them from coming back. Make sure that you provide plenty of value in your content so that your viewers decide they want to know more and use your products. Show the value of your products in the content that you provide. But you should avoid using guilt in images or text. You don’t want people associating your business with negative things. Also make sure that you avoid asking your customers to do you favors, even if all you want is for them to click or like your pages.