Visual content is far more approachable for an individual’s brain than textual information. That is why most of the websites today place the accent on images and appearance. For some websites, such as certain blogs, news sites, and online communities, textual content must be a priority though.
When a website is “burdened” with content, it is essential to plan an efficient design which will not be overwhelming, nor will it take the attention away from the content. The design needs to complement the textual information and put the content into the focus.
How can you do that? We’ll help you by giving you some of the best design solutions for content-heavy websites, and you’ll take it from there.
Decide which content goes into the spotlight
Not all content is made the same, and some deserve to stand out. Each piece of content needs to be organized according to the pre-established hierarchy (e.g., title, subtitle, article). Put everything on paper, and it will be much easier to view it from the designer’s perspective and create a well-constructed and balance website.
Use visual hierarchy
Now that you have your list of priorities, use height, effective typography, and the position of the content to create distinctions.
The rule of thumb is that the top left corner always attracts more attention than the bottom right. Larger and more unique fonts should be used for the parts you really want to stand out.
Organize in grids
Adhering content to a grid is an excellent method to keep a large amount of content organized. This can help you organize the text based on hierarchy, but also to keep different textual information separated visually and physically. To achieve this, you can use a grid framework or a set of rulers.
Create a detailed sitemap
A bunch of content can get site visitors confused and lost. That’s why it is always useful to create a detailed sitemap which will determine the connection and interaction between the pages. If you are not using a blogging platform or other CMS, you will also have to plan the directory structure.
Show content “on demand”
Plenty of content-heavy websites opt for showing content on hover or click. A potential disadvantage of this approach is that the site visitors will only look for what they are interested, and the possibilities of getting “hooked” on another thing you want to show them. So, in this case, make sure that you write great content for your website, and attract the users with the title and the first sentence or the things they’ll be able to see when they hover over it.
Use tabs to separate content
Tabs are another easy way to show content only when users want to see it and to create a flow of information from left to right or from top to bottom. Tabbed content can be used in a lot of creative ways, and they can highlight the important content, but also keep the less-important information easily available.
Showcase what you want to be seen
Showcasing the wanted features is a commonly used option for content-heavy sites. It means putting the popular, recent, or featured content into the spotlight and, thus, encouraging the visitors to explore throughout the site. Content sliders are the most practical way to introduce this option, as they offer interactivity and appealing animations.
Have you ever visited Ikea web page?
At first glance, it looks pretty simple and minimalistic (as everything this famous furniture manufacturer does), but when you position your cursor on the product section, there is a drop-down menu which showcases dozens of additional options.
This concept is applicable to every content-heavy website, as long as it uses intelligent and proper markups.
Collapsible and removable boxes
Sometimes the visitors are simply not interested in certain content, and you shouldn’t impose anything on them. Those are usually alerts, model boxes, and feature suggestions. You should give them an option of minimizing or closing those boxes. This is a very user-friendly option which allows them to better focus on the things they are interested in.
The use of visual aids
Just because you have a ton of textual information doesn’t mean you can’t use visual aids to attract visitors. Beautiful photography backdrops are always a good choice for making your site visually appealing and intriguing the visitors to find out something more about the content.
Integrating other types of content
Written content can be fantastic, but don’t limit your website with strict rules. Video content and infographics are becoming more and more popular, and they can replace or serve as a complement to textual information, thus making the amount of text feel less overwhelming.
Designing for a content-heavy website is something many designers find difficult because it requires finding the right place for everything and creating an adequate hierarchy. That is why it is important for the designers and the website owners to work together with the goal of creating a well-constructed, balanced, and visually pleasant website.
Author: Catherine is a web designer in love with art in all its forms. Branding, designing and making your business stand out in this digital age are areas Catherine is quite interested in and occupated with lately. She has been researching and learning for some time now, so she is always happy to share her knowledge and inspire others by writing some quality content.