Is your web page too creative?

To avoid confusion, Top is labelled Bottom
To avoid confusion, Top is labelled Bottom

Psst! Come with me. I will lead you to a magic land where everything is possible. Wave your wand and you can fly, vanish, turn into a wizard or travel in time.

This is the world in your computer, virtual unreality, the realm of web and blog design. Here you can give free rein to your creativity, conjure up your own kingdom and wander wherever you fancy.

…Oops! Wait a minute. Before you put on your web designer’s or blog writer’s hat and prepare to disappear into your creative neverland, a word of warning. As in all magic countries, there is one thing you must never do. Well, quite a lot actually, but one thing in particular.

Don’t mess with the signposts.

Labels are important. Get too creative with the navigation in your web or blog pages, and you and your visitors are liable to get lost.

As Viki Nygaard says in her blog about web design Learn to do it Right:

‘…it’s important to use caution when straying from what’s familiar. This especially holds true when it comes to web site terminology. People have become accustomed to using certain words and phrases to describe specific web site elements. When you change them in an effort to be clever or creative, the end result is most often confusion…’

MORE. Don’t get too creative with web page navigation labels.

Published by

Valerie Beeby

We used to say 'Seeing is believing'. Now it's more like 'Believing is seeing'. We see what we expect to see. Look again and who knows. Does it really match what's actually there? ...I've always been fascinated by how our minds work. As a writer and artist, I'm particularly interested in new research into how we perceive this extraordinary world we live in, where things are not always what they seem.

6 thoughts on “Is your web page too creative?”

  1. Hi Valerie,

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. Websites which are too creative are a pain. So many of them these days use fancy Flash navigation and sometimes you have to hunt around with your mouse to even find the navigation. If it takes me more than 10 seconds to figure out how to get into the site, I leave in disgust. It’s not a question of me requireing instant gratification, it’s a case of “why are you people wasting my time by showing off?”.

    Thanks for a article which is both timely and incisive.

  2. Love the cartoon at the top. Your humor is so — well, based on REAL! So it’s very funny.

    You just have a way with words, and your drawings of Purple Owl give him that certain Huh? look that is delightful and invites me in.

    I remember this post of Viki’s. I like her practical approach to web design for non-geek-type website owners. Me.


  3. ROFL, Adele is such a tease! I know what her question is but anyone else reading this is going to be SO curious.

    Joking aside, design conventions are really important. I will be adding this blog post to my intermediate Dreamweaver reading list!

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