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Web Site Design Needs Uncluttered Look

A recent study by the Nielsen Norman Group reaffirms a concept most radio station web sites don't follow: A clean, uncluttered look holds teens longer.

While radio's on-air initiative to do away with commercial clutter appears to be catching on, the same approach is not followed when it comes to most radio stations' web sites.

Online, "clutter" doesn't just refer to ads. A busy web page comes from stuffing too many elements within a confined space. Be they ads, listings of topics, pictures, or miscellaneous links, giving a site visitor too much to digest chases them away - especially if "they" are teens.

What makes sense here is the different way in which teenagers use the internet than adults do. While an adult may have a purpose for their visit, teens often surf looking for a reason to stay on a site. Pictures have holding power. So do interactive elements that allow teens to voice their opinion or be creative. But put too many of these on a page (which makes the user work at understanding what's in front of them), and you'll soon lose their attention.

Small type be gone, along with too many words, is another topic addressed by Jakob Nielsen in the report. While adults will lean into the computer screen, teens lay back in the chair. Larger font size allows them to consume without struggling to read, an action "...they say they do enough of already in school."

Go to your own station web site, or select a few stations at Notice that most use all of the space available, cramming in as much as can be placed on the screen.

We now know that's not the appearance a teenager wants to hang with. I'll also give the opinion there are few adults who find it appealing as well.

Related Article:
Wired News

Posted: 12:27 2/10/2005

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