I came across this great video on Seth Godin’s blog. To get the full effect, take a look at the video before reading the remainder of this post. The video lasts 1:09.
One of my favorite ideas from the book Don’t Make me Think is tunnel vision. From Chapter Two, the first Fact of Life is that we don’t read web pages, we scan them. We are in a hurry. Web users are like sharks who need to keep moving or they will die. We don’t look at an entire web page, we focus on the task at hand or our personal interests. Everything else is white noise. For those of you who haven’t read the book, here is a link to Don’t Make Me Think – Chapter Two, including an illustration of what designers build and what users see.
So think twice about all the extra bells and whistles you add to your designs. IMHO, the simpler the better.