Why convention isn’t a bad thing

Sometimes wacky is good.  Sometimes being different is good.  But often, following convention is better.

Why convention is a good thing

(we’re talking about websites here by the way…)

  • People know where to find things.  So they don’t feel silly & fed-up not being able to find what they want
  • People focus on the content, not the design.  On taking action, not on sitting back & admiring the graphics.  That’s what you want them to do… isn’t it?
  • People feel safe, they know where they’re going, what they’re doing.  So they are that smidgen more likely to trust you.

All of what I’ve said so far depends very much on your business – that goes without saying (but I thought I’d say it anyway).  But for the most part, people want quality, reliability, service – over wackiness and off-the-wall-ness.  In my experience.

Conventions you should follow

There are many, but here are just three examples for web design:

  • Menu – a consistent, site-wide menu, usually along the top of the page or down the left hand side of the screen
  • Links – either in a different colour (often blue) or underlined – or both.  Don’t have other text in the default ‘link’ blue – people will think it’s a link!
  • Logo – at the top of the page, and very often to the left; always links back to the website home page.

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