Designs with complex structures are typically more fun to look at, but they’re also typically more cluttered and harder to use. I find it interesting that WordPress users haven’t gotten over the “premium” news and magazine themes craze because they’re mostly designed with complex structures (and not exactly done right either).First, I admit it. This wave of WordPress themes imitating the structures of complex print magazines and online entertainment portals featuring multimedia content was a refreshing change of pace for the WordPress themes community. However, when it comes down to it, they look good but aren’t really useful. And of course, I’m not an exception. Yours truly is also guilty of jumping on the news portal slash magazine design bandwagon here. Second, I have to point out that in a battle between simple versus complex for magazine sites, simple beats the heck out of complex. (Milo brought the magazine designs ranking to my attention a while ago, but I didn’t think too much of it until now. The rankings are based on one-on-one battles between magazine designs on a site called Command Shift 3. It’s basically Hot or Not for web design instead of people.)The number 1 design is from A List Apart, which uses a simple three column layout. Also, the closer to the top of the rankings the simpler the structure. Interesting?Granted, typical “premium” news or magazine themes (at the moment) are designed around multimedia content, but that doesn’t mean you can’t simplify the layout structure. My point here is you don’t need a featured post, a gallery, a top articles listing, and etc., each with its own unique template structure; all sitting on one page.Design around your content and make your site look unique, but at the same time, you should simplify where you can and go with what works. For example, blog readers expect to find the RSS subscribe button at the top right-hand corner or at the top of the right sidebar. Why is that? No one said that’s the best spot, but it’s “what works” because many popular blogs place the subscribe button there.
Simple vs Complex Designs