Design that sparks joy

Lessons we can learn from Twitter and Marie Kondo about more than order and cleanliness.

Remember what the Internet looked like in 2010? Yes? So, you remember Twitter looking like this? Drum roll, dramatic music, the curtain opens to THIS:

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I was quite shocked when I saw this: Avatar and Sherlock Holmes were trending and Justin Bieber still had that funny hair cut. How time went by!

Also design wise… well, a lot has changed since then. This is what the same page looks like today:

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It’s rather unrecognisable. From a design point of view, there’s a lot to unpack here. But I think it all comes down to two design lessons we can learn from Twitter’s makeover.

Lesson 1: The Marie Kondo

Immediately, we notice that there’s a lot less going on. Fewer text, only four colours and the logo is a simple, recognisable symbol - rather than a cartoon bird.

Essentially, Twitter has done a full Marie Kondo on their sign up page. They decluttered it from distracting content and design and only kept the necessary basics. What’s left is a clean, balanced and thus visually appealing website that sparks joy. Your eye isn’t distracted, but is lead directly to where Twitter wants it to be: on the sign up button.

Which brings us to lesson number two:

Lesson 2: The CTA

The reason we’re seeing more and more simplicity in design is because it helps the purpose of the page. In this case, Twitter wants you to create an account with them. That’s it.

This is called a CTA - a call to action. Every button that says “sign up for this now” or “try our new product” or “put into cart” is a call to action - something the company wants you to click on, most probably to sell you their product some steps down the line.

Twitter communicates their CTA very clearly. Every bit of text you read on the page asks you to do the same thing: to join Twitter. Anything that could possibly distract you from doing so is visually tucked away on the bottom of the page in colours that are easy to oversee. The clean, simple design helps to focus the viewer's attention on their message.

So, lesson number two: Do the Marie Kondo to communicate your CTA more effectively.

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With web design as with everything there are trends that come and go. But some stay because they contribute something to the functionality of the website. I know very little about the future, but I'll predict that we won't go back to cluttered websites any time soon. Simplicity and clear messaging on websites are here to stay.

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