High-impact, minimalist website design at its best

Posted December 2nd @ 12:28 pm by Roger C. ParkerPrint

second-park-four-5Wednesday’s author book marketing and promotion tip

Last week, I ran across a Tweet containing a link to a blog post containing examples of high-impact, minimalist website design at its best.

All of the examples were good, but one stood out, and remains, a week later, one of the best examples of visitor-oriented website design that I’ve ever seen.

All authors could benefit from the lessons taught by Tiffani Jones and Matt Brown’s Second & Park website. Highlights include:

  1. White space at the top framing the principal’s name and contact information.
  2. Engaging, benefit-oriented headline emerging from a “what’s going on?” black and white photograph.
  3. The distinctive (and surprising) branding power of black & white in a color web world.
  4. Typography. Note the excellent typeface choice and careful letter spacing in the main headline, and the “write, edit, & review” subtitle.
  5. The clear and simple presentation of the benefits of hiring her tucked immediately below the photograph.
  6. Layout. Note the layout of the “write, edit, & review” subtitle and the 3 categories that follow, i.e., “Websites & apps,” “Blogs & articles,” and “newsletters.” There’s always something pleasing about dividing space into 3 equal parts, especially when introduced by a subtitle to the left.

Above-the-fold magic

Basically, first-time visitors to the site learn everything they need to know to want to contact Tiffani and Matt.

There’s more to the site, which I’ll be covering in greater detail in Published & Profitable, but–basically–I’m convinced in just the first screen that the principles know what they’re doing.

What do you think?

Do you agree or disagree? Do you know of any other high-impact, minimalist website designs that you’d care to share with Published & Profitable’s friends and members? More important, do you know of any author websites that use any of the above techniques, to promote the author’s books and/or services? Use the comments area, below, to share your thoughts.

11 Comments

  1. Curtis Chambers
    December 2, 2009

    Roger, very interesting site here. I notice also there is a subtle pop-up that says “I can help” when you hover over the black and white picture.

    Also, I think it is unusual in that there are very few links on the landing page. Everything pushes the reader down to the contact form. For example, try clicking on the “About” link at the top and see what happens.

    This web designer strikes me as ingenius.

    And the web page is a sample of her work. You know she is more than qualified by the what a terrific site she has designed for herself.

    Great post, Roger.

  2. Roger C. Parker
    December 3, 2009

    Dear Curtis:
    Thank you for noticing the pop-up as well as the designer’s focus on MDVA–Most Desired Visitor Action.

    Yes, lots of good lessons here.

    Did you get a chance to visit any of the other sites in the “minimalist anthology” blog post linked in the first paragraph?

    Roger

  3. Edward G. Talbot
    December 4, 2009

    I think the design you highlighted is great for many types of businesses. However, I think it would be pretty bad for an author web site. When I see the site, I am thinking “competent professional”, I’m not thinking “this looks interesting.” I tend not to like sites with very few links on the home page. It’s possible to have a simple and elegant design with plenty of ways to go directly to what you want.

    One of my favorite author web sites is Alice Hoffman’s web site. – http://www.alicehoffman.com/

    Simple yet complete, with just the right amount of color and image material. My own web site is a bit more complex than hers, but it’s also currently designed for an audience that is primarily coming for free audiobooks. When I start coming out with books in print format, more tweaking will occur.

  4. Curtis Chambers
    December 4, 2009

    I think the “Creative District” site is pretty incredible. Also, perhaps “A Working Library.” Definitely some of these are works of art.

  5. Roger C. Parker
    December 5, 2009

    Dear Curtis:
    Thank you for bringing these to my attention, occasioning a second visit to them.

    I especially like the Creative District one. The video is extremely well done, though a bit slow to load on my computer. It presents an excellent view of their client work, though.

    Thanks for bringing these to our attention.

    Roger

  6. Roger C. Parker
    December 5, 2009

    Dear Edward:
    Thank you for sparking an extremely interesting half-hour of surfing.

    There is obviously a great deal of excellent work out there that I was unaware of…including your extremely professional site.

    The colors and layout of the http://www.alicehoffman.com site are really striking.

    Visiting that site lead me to the AuthorBytes site, which, in turn, lead me to other great examples of author websites. I may not have gotten as much done on some of my projects as desired, but I consider my time well spent.

    I definitely recommend your site, http://edwardgtalbot.com, to authors looking for examples of inspiring web marketing and design.

    Thank you for taking the time to broaden my/our perspective.

    Roger

  7. Karin
    December 13, 2009

    I thought I’d chime into the conversation here. I am the founder of SmartAuthorSites.com. We obviously build websites for authors. My take on author websites is this: every author needs a very different type of website. Someone who writes a romance novel and is published by Harlequin has very different needs from an author who is self-publishing about their field of expertise and is also looking to use the website to book speaking engagements, etc… Fiction authors should have sites that are more dramatic in nature. Nonfiction authors should have sites that are more functional, intuitive and full of information. Also, an author who is going to be actively involved in a site (blogging, answering questions, etc…) should have a different type of site than one who just wants to use it as a portfolio. Basically, my point is, author sites really need to be personalized to the genre, target audience, and the author’s goals for the site. It’s hard to point to one type of site and say that other authors should be replicating it. Just my two cents.

  8. Roger C. Parker
    December 14, 2009

    Dear Karin:
    Thank you for sharing your perspective.

    You’re right, of course, there is no universally applicable solution, and author’s image and title genre must play a role.

    My main goal in writing is that I keep running into authors who hire local designers–rather than designers like yourself who specialize in author websites–and they often have horrifying stories to tell about delays and etc….and they often still end up with a web site they cannot update by themselves.

    Or, equally bad, authors spend months, often many months, learning HTML or mastering expensive web page authoring software, on their own, rather than writing and selling their book. There websites become their obsession, (rather than their books, g).

    I am pleased to make your acquaintance and I look forward to learning more about your business so I may recommend you, when appropriate.

    Best wishes on your continued success.

    Roger

  9. Roger C. Parker
    December 14, 2009

    Dear Karin:
    Thank you for sharing your perspective.

    You’re right, of course, there is no universally applicable solution, and author’s image and title genre must play a role.

    My main goal in writing is that I keep running into authors who hire local designers–rather than designers like yourself who specialize in author websites–and they often have horrifying stories to tell about delays and etc….and they often still end up with a web site they cannot update by themselves.

    Or, equally bad, authors spend months, often many months, learning HTML or mastering expensive web page authoring software, on their own, rather than writing and selling their book. There websites become their obsession, (rather than their books, g).

    I am pleased to make your acquaintance and I look forward to learning more about your business so I may recommend you, when appropriate.

    Best wishes on your continued success.

    Roger

  10. Darren
    March 8, 2010

    Hi Roger

    I was trying to achieve a high impact with minimalist design with my site and would love to hear what you think of it, my site is http://www.mfrccy.com.au….

    By the way, i thought the second & park website design was fantastic

  11. Roger C. Parker
    March 8, 2010

    Dear Darren:
    Thank you for taking the time to write: there is, indeed, a lot to like at http://www.mfrccy.com.au.

    I like the focus on individual ideas at one time, and I like the color palette. It’s a very well organized and concisely written site.

    My only concern, and it’s just a quibble, is the way that “Strategies,” “Markets,” and “Risk Exposure” are not vertically aligned with each other. Or, at least, don’t appear to be vertically aligned in Firefox.

    The higher placement in the second column is sort of distracting. But, other than that, it’s a great site.

    How is it performing for you? I agree, btw, that the Second & Park site is truly wonderful.

    Roger

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