Web Without Words (sorry for not typing it like you want to, creators, but it disrupts the type) is a great site. I love the idea, and as a designer, I love what it represents.
Just take a look at this wordless version of Yahoo’s website:
This is great, this is a way designers should look at webpages to know how their layout is working out. Yahoo is obviously pretty cluttered, no surprise there, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a bad design. What it does tells you is that there’s a risk of clutter, and that’s something.
Looking at the web without words is more or less suitable for different sites. For instance, I think it works better with CNN.com than with Yahoo above.
What You Can Learn From Web Without Words
The thing to take from Web Without Words is a different way to look at websites. You get a very honest picture of your sites layout, the actual wireframe of the site. Web Without Words creator Paul Armstrong explains his site like this:
web.without.words started simply as a way for me “practice what I preach” — to visually represent my core belief that hierarchy, grid systems and uniformity ultimately lead to a more natural user experience — to show the overall structure of any website, by striping away all the distractions of text and ads and images and showing a site for what the eye unconsciously perceives. I dissected CNN.com (primarily as a way to recuse myself from all the political grandstanding), cobbled together a website and showed a few friends
It is pretty spot on, but even if you just don’t buy the obsession of grid systems and things like that, it can still be a good idea to look at Web Without Words in general, and applying it to your design in particular.
Now if someone would please build me a service where I can just put in an URL and get it rendered in Web Without Words style.