Posted to Volacci's blog on March 22nd, 2011

Consistency, Consistency, a Poisonous Purple Platypus

The topic of the day: Consistency. A website without consistency is a source of insanity for the site’s visitors. A lack of consistency causes confusion and can decrease your credibility, especially in a lack of content consistency.

Did You Know? Male platypus have a spur on each of their hind limbs that, when stuck into a predator, releases a bevy of different venoms and causes excruciating pain. Not to worry, it isn’t lethal, but it still renders its victims temporarily incapacitated due to the high volume of pain it causes.

Now back to consistency. The platypus bit was just something I thought you’d like to know, something worth interrupting our current conversation and sidetrack you about. Before we get back to the current topic of content consistency, there’s something else I would like to


talk about: style consistency. Style consistency has to do with the size, shape, color, voice, and location of things. A good example of a lack of style consistency is a child’s letter. Almost every child’s letter you’ve seen has letters of varying shapes, sizes, locations, and (sometimes) colors. Even the spelling of the same word written twice isn’t always consistent!


Back to content consistency: It’s not good to jump around several topics on a page, or in many cases, on your site. This creates a hard-to-follow website that many people will get frustrated with and give up trying to understand. Design consistency is very important too. Have you ever clicked on a banner ad that looked one way, and when you arrive at the site it looks completely different from anything on that banner ad? Where is the consistency there? There isn’t any, and that’s what is so frustrating for your visitors. There are even theme and design inconsistencies on many sites that make it look as if a team of Keebler Elves® designed each page separately and threw it all into one domain.


Your homework assignment: Look at your website, it’s content, style, and design (even your website’s “voice”) and check out it’s level of consistency. Find the areas that need improvement. If you can’t find any problems, enlist the help of someone to critique your site. An inconsistent element in a website is a Poisonous Purple Platypus; it’s random and unexpected. Disclaimer: The author was in fact sober during the writing of this article. Additional Disclaimer: The author wishes to express his sincere apology to any website-designing Keebler Elf who was offended by the content of this article. The author has the utmost respect and admiration for all Keebler Elves, their websites, and their cookies.