When it comes to web design and generally website success online, it’s probably fair to say that ‘Facebook’ has done a pretty good job and seems to know what it’s doing. This is a web design that millions of people use on a daily basis, and that has been highly effective in doing what it’s meant to without letting the design get in the way.
If you’re going to look for inspiration in your web design then, this is a rather good place to start. So what have they done right that other webmasters can take on board? Here we will look at some of the lessons from Facebook.
Lots of White
The first thing you notice going to Facebook is that there is an awful lot of white and just a little bit of dark blue. Apparently this is a result of Mark Zuckerberg being colorblind, but actually whatever the reason is this is something that we would all do well to emulate. The great thing about Facebook is that it is unobtrusive, light and easy to read. The fact that there are no bright colors or huge images means that it’s something that everyone can use and that few people are likely to have an objections to. Note that if you want your site to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, then you need to avoid having anything that will divide opinion such as a colourful background.
At the same time the lack of big images and the ‘lots of white’ allows the site to be easy to read and avoids distracting attention away from the content. Similarly it also helps with quick loading times and means you can load the site up on your phone. This to me was one of the big things that Faebook did better than MySpace early on – as the latter allowed people to upload hundreds of large images to their profile pages and this then meant that the average page took about half an hour to load and looked ugly. Facebook is bare bones and that’s what you need for something like this.
Facebook is also very well branded. The prominence of that one shade of blue ensures that we instantly associate the color with Facebook, which makes advertising and creating a cohesive feel very easy for Mark and co. On top of that you have the Facebook logo – again understated – constantly in the same place at the top let so you always know where you are.
Another thing that Facebook does very well and that’s refreshing to see, is the fact that Facebook’s advertising is so discrete and minimalistic. It’s on the right first of all meaning it isn’t the first thing you see, and meaning that on a small screen you don’t see it at all. And actually there is very little space dedicated to advertising on the page at all. This could be a lot worse, but in the long run this respect for their visitors has helped Facebook to ensure they are more successful and has enabled them to keep their site ‘cool’ and their advertising space desirable.
Navigation is also happily simple on Facebook and is in the places that you automatically look – along the top and down the side. This ensures that people intuitively know their way around the site, and prevents them from getting frustrated and leaving.