Brendandawes.com; after the simplicity bomb
On October 2nd 2010 I nuked my site with what I called the simplicity bomb. Out of the rubble came a much simpler site designed to not only bring content to the front but put in a place a system — indexhibit — that allowed me to concentrate on creating content and not have to think about the mechanism for displaying that content. I really didn't want to have to think about "web design".
Just over four months on what's been the effect of going for the nuclear option?
Well there's been several effects from the fallout. It's been completely liberating from a creative point of view — any type of content I put up is presented clearly without fuss or noise; I don't even have to decide what section it fits in as there are no sections and no categories. Less decisions for me to make, less time wasted. I can't tell you how liberating this is.
Because there are no categories everything is there on the first page; no sub-navigation, no hierarchy to traverse. Everything in a list. Simple.
Going off my stats, people find things much more than they did before; the bounce rate has dropped, the session length increased and the amount of people tweeting and sharing work has also increased.
But being me I started to play around with how it looked, at one point adding a slideshow of my work on the homepage. A few weeks later I removed it. I just preferred the simplicity of how it was before. There was space, there was room to breathe. Whenever I think about adding any new features to the site I ask myself "can it be justified?" More features does not make a better product.
Of course indexhibit is not perfect; there's no RSS feed (though you can hack one together) and I really need to work on making it look better on mobile devices. But even with those quirks I've finally found a system that is simple, uncomplicated and invisible.