By now you’ve probably heard about the life-changing de-cluttering movement sweeping the globe, The KonMari Method. Japanese tidying expert, Marie Kondo’s strict approach to tidying up has inspired people in droves to eliminate the unnecessary things in their homes. In her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing, Kondo provides detailed instructions to pare down your possessions and organize your way to a peaceful life.
So what can we learn from The KonMari Method that we can apply to web design? Below are some of the ways you could improve your website using Kondo’s advice.
Sort and purge by category, not by room
In the home, your instinct may be to categorize room to room, but often there are similar items scattered throughout the house. The same goes for your website’s content. When reorganizing, scour your entire site for any bits of information relating to one service you offer and make sure it is all available in one section. This makes it easier for the user, and eliminates redundancy.
Tidy up in one shot
Gradual tidying won’t cut it. Devoting the time to tackle everything at once will keep you on track. When sorting your content, this will help you keep things consistent. You will be more likely to catch duplicate information and recognize similarities that will help you categorize.
“Does it spark joy?”
This is the question Marie Kondo’s rulebook urges you to ask yourself with every object in your home. With your content, of course there will be a lot of information that doesn’t necessarily spark joy. However, the idea behind it is to determine if this content makes people want to work with you, and if it serves a purpose. Is all the information on your website ‘need-to-know’ for a potential customer, or is there some information that you could supply to your customers after they make a transaction? Then, you have a good excuse to reach out to your customers after their initial purchase.
Everything should have its place
After purging all unnecessary content, it’s important to revisit the architecture of your site to make sure the page titles and structure make sense. Evaluate the content you have and make sure you are categorizing things in a way that is not only obvious to you, but, more importantly, to the user. Sometimes the way we categorize information internally within the organization isn’t what seems most natural to the general public.
Eliminate visual clutter
Removing unnecessary things provides clarity. Kondo’s advice: “By eliminating excess visual information that doesn’t inspire joy, you can make your space much more peaceful and comfortable.” With our designs, we like to create clean, functional spaces online. Too many images or animations will only detract from your message.
Don’t worry as much about “flow planning” and “frequency of use”
Kondo says that most systems of organization are mistakenly based around how often things are used or convenient it is to retrieve them. She writes: “Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong. Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away, not the effort to get them out.” If we apply this to website layout, we may want to take this with a grain of salt. If you’re a non-profit, you’re definitely going to want that “Donate” button as visible as possible right away. However, when we ensure related content is clearly categorized within one section of the site, the user in theory will find things faster and intuitively know where to go.
Tidy on your own
Too many people involved can muddle the message. Do what feels right to you before getting outside opinions. With site design, it’s good to get an outsider’s perspective, but make sure you’ve done your work first. You know your business best, and outsiders might only confuse your direction and dilute your vision.
Ultimately, by using the KonMari approach to web design, you’ll be creating a space where nothing gets in the way of your message. Is it time for a little spring cleaning on your website?