We have developed an ability to ignore irrelevant information, for example banner blindness, the result is that information suppliers are becoming more intrusive as they chase click through revenues or brand share.

Ads windows that grow, pop over, need to be closed or follow you down the screen, and interstitial ads (pages that sit between referenced pages) are pushed at us while we’re on the information hunt.

Certain things we cannot ignore, however, and they are bombarding us. Web 2.0 brands are fighting for dominance, their little logos littering pages, giving the users access to publish, fetch or partake in information instantly.

The different social applications we subscribe to, are offering integration to comment and rating systems, locations, even photo memories, all these things are becoming almost meta like in their relationship to content, and many of them are being offered up on pages we visit as sites try to tie into the value offered by web 2.0 brands.

These intrusive marketing strategies are irritating and they can backfire, they end up creating the wrong impression for your brand, even though in many cases you are not responsible for the technology that is pushing them.

We are getting lost behind the piles of clutter, and instead of staying to see what the content offers, we are choosing to move on to pages where content is easier to consume.

Why is this relevant?

This principle should be applied to every community, especially when the value is in the content, something Intranets should be doing for Enterprise Communities.

Don’t fall into the clutter trap, make sure your content is obvious, simple and easy to read. Your user is primarily there for your content, make sure you treat it, and them, with the correct amount of respect. Do that, and you’re on your way to ensuring they come back more frequently.

Content should be beautiful in it’s simplest form.

I’ve included a very basic example of a content space, a simple story that would take place in a single grid space on an Intranet.

My content considerations:

  • White space – Ensuring the story has breathing space, between the content
  • Font weights – Differentiating content elements, like headline, key line, author, date and the actual story.
  • Content frames – using shaded blocks, subtle lines and underlines to frame my content space.
  • Comfortable width – Make sure your reading column is a comfortable width.