Skip to Main Content
Confusion priorities traffic lights

How our priorities create a paradox of choice

I've recently been reading the book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. While many find happiness from living a life with less, the concept of essentialism can also apply to websites. The phrase 'less is more' is often heard in business, and especially when planning marketing campaigns. It's actually harder to create something where less is actually more. The famous quote widely attributed to Mark Twain where he said he would have written a shorter letter but he didn't have the time, illustrates this in a way many of us can appreciate.

So how can we focus on Essentialism where less really is more?

The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years. Only in the 1900s did we pluralize the term and start talking about priorities.

Greg Mckeown - Essentialism

I find this fascinating. For hundreds of years we were expected to have a priority. One focus. One primary goal. One main objective. Then with a few little additional letters everything changed.

All of a sudden we are expected to be able to focus on 5 different things at once, chase numerous different goals and win on all fronts.

“Our website has 5 key priorities.”

“Our digital priorities for the coming year are…”

“The page needs to prioritise three things…”

As someone who designs websites, I hear these kinds of statements regularly. It’s always well intentioned. I understand that a website usually needs to do more than one thing. The problem with this however is that if everything is important, nothing is important.

When designing a website it’s so important to keep your eye on the PRIORITY. Yes, there will be numerous things that a site, a page, or even a particular section may need to do, but what is the PRIOR THING.

What is the primary call to action?

What is the one thing you want the user to remember when they leave your site?

What is the key piece of information that you want a user to learn?

Failing to identify your priority leads to busy websites with mixed messages that will overwhelm your users. There will be multiple competing calls to action, navigation will be cluttered, and multiple sliders all screaming a different message will leave users disorientated.

You know your business better than anyone. You understand the complexities. You know the 101 things that are happening. But your customers aren’t impressed. User friendly websites bring chaos into order. They guide your users through the website to find the prior thing they need.

Keep your eye on the goal.

Reduce Visitor Confusion with a UX Audit

Has your website lost it's focus? Are there too many messages competing for your users' attention? A User Experience (UX) audit will identify barriers in your customer's journey providing recommendations that make it easier for them to find what they need, and improve your conversion rates.

Book a UX Audit today
Tom Steward web sq

Tom is the user experience (UX) lead at A Digital.

Learn more about us: