Design for comprehension

To help readers focus on the information and experiences provided by web content, be ruthless in removing content that is unnecessary to the key purpose of the page (see Clear Purpose) and potentially distracting. It can be difficult to decide what’s extraneous clutter, so focus on content and features that support the intended experience you want readers to have when accessing the page.

Minimizing distractions is essential to clean presentation:

  • Be conservative about using moving or animated content. Animations and video can be powerful ways to illustrate an event or concept, but they can also be distracting.
  • Let users control playback. Include controls that allow users to start and stop video and animations, and don't use the autoplay feature that starts playing a video when a page loads.
  • Avoid content that flashes or flickers. Flashing content can trigger seizures. Avoid using content that flickers or flashes.

Consistency also helps with comprehension:

  • Be consistent when using terminology and design conventions. It’s easier for your audience to recognize conventions from other sites they visit than try to figure out something new and unusual.
  • Be consistent in applying layouts and features that appear on more than one page. If you use a consistent content structure and layout, it will be easier for users to learn and comprehend site structure and offerings.


Review each content item and confirm that it has an important purpose for that page. This is a judgment call, based on the intended user experience you’ve identified for each page.

For each video or animation present:

  • Is the user in control over when the video starts to play?
  • Is there a way for users to pause or stop the moving content?
  • If flashing content is present, and is considered essential, is the flashing rate outside of the danger rate of between 2 and 55 Hz? If it is not, is there a warning on links to the page that the page contains flashing content?