I ordered a Cubano for lunch today from a local sandwich shop. It came with a delicious dijonnaise dressing. The sauce really kicked the sandwich up to the next level. For the first few bites.
The meat was slathered with sauce, and the bread quickly began soaking through. It was running down my hands and dripping back on to the plate. The dijonnaise was coated so heavily that soon it was all I could taste. The other ingredients were overpowered and the sandwich became a soggy mess.
Sometimes we make this same mistake with design. We find some element we like and we use it as much as possible. To the point that the functionality of our product–its original purpose–is overwhelmed by the dressing.
Maybe you have a creative hover effect that emphasizes an element on the web page. Add it to a single button and you’ve got a cool trick that impresses your visitors. Add it to every hyperlink and you’ve got a mess that distracts from functionality.
Find your secret sauce and use it sparingly. It is possible to have too much of a good thing.