There is always a battle of how much information is too much when it comes to design whether it be packaging, a brochure or a website. There are those who try to dump every bit of information about a product or service on you in one shot. Many marketing professionals are famous for this tactic.
In recent years I've associated this with the curse of knowledge introduced to me by the Heath brothers Chip and Dan (see previous post). But prior to that I connected it to the "first date". Most people I know have had the experience of asking... "so tell me about yourself ". And, then they proceed to unfold every detail of their existence from the second they were born to what they did before you sat down for dinner. I would have settled for knowing their favorite color, book or movie. Instead I have way too much information to process or even determine if this was someone I wanted to get to know further. Generally not... there was no mystery left.
I've found most of us like to be courted. Sometimes it's love at first sight and other times it takes awhile to get familiar with what your business has to offer. A colleague of mine recently put it in terms I hadn't thought of before when he pointed out the bite, snack, meal approach to website design. After giving the concept some thought I realized it was very close to the processes I had used in my design work for years. The concept of introducing your value proposition in increments — courting. Going back to dating... most of us just want the highlights to start. How tall is she? What color eyes does he have? Is she thin? Is he bald? Once we get past the basic check list "deal breakers" we want to learn more.
It's not too much different then when you scan a newspaper to determine which article stands out. The bite is the headline, the snack is the first few paragraphs and the meal is the entire article. At that point you'll most likely flip the page to read the rest of the story. The most important aspect of this approach is to determine what the primary value proposition is and feature it. In other words... don't bury the headline!
Here's a prime example of information overload...
I really appreciated this video because I had the pleasure of working with the Microsoft Hardware Group. The group at Microsoft responsible for developing all the keyboard, mouse products and web cams.