How to Simplify Design
A simple web design offers many benefits that are lost from complicated or cluttered websites. Simplicity cuts out any friction that can otherwise exist between a user entering your site and actually converting. Internet users are becoming increasingly attracted to simply designed websites, because they’re aesthetically pleasing, focused, and easily understood and navigated. They also often load faster and are great for performing well across platforms.
Therefore it’s no surprise that minimalism has become a hugely popular trend among designers. Yet, minimalism doesn’t imply that it’s also simple to design. On the contrary, minimal design might be the biggest challenge designers had to face so far
Minimal design involves doing away with all elements of a design that do not directly contribute to the site’s purpose. The site is stripped to its raw essentials in order to emphasize functionality.
Here are some hands-on tips how to achieve an effective, minimal design.
Make Your Message Clear
Before designing or redesigning your site, establish your message. This should come easily from the knowledge of your brand, which you can narrow a specific purpose from. Everything you design should revolve around serving that purpose.
For example, if your website is highlighting a specific product, make it easy for visitors to access product information, view images and make a purchase. They shouldn’t have to search for the product or wonder (or even think about) what the purpose of the site is.
It’s easy to see what Tapmates is all about, and the site sends its message without an overwhelming use of images, copy or color.
Distractions can be anything from pop up ads, flash effects, to unnecessary images or information. Evaluate your design and remove anything that doesn’t have a specific use in accomplishing your purpose. A good way to do this is to follow the 80-20 rule, which is stripping your design so that 20% of it accomplishes 80% of your goal. That way, you achieve more with less.
Made By Sofa offers a simple and straightforward layout and navigation menu that users can choose from. They can easily learn about the brand without getting distracted by unnecessary page elements.
Reduce Number of Options
When users have only a limited set of options after entering your site, it’s easier for them to navigate to important areas. Few options guide them to your goal. You can do this by trimming your number of site pages, which then shrinks your navigational menu. Another great way to immediately direct users is to place essential information above the fold, like branding, content and calls-to-action, so that they don’t have to click to take the next step.
Inze shows how a site can function without even using a navigation menu. Users are immediately directed to simply scroll and quickly learn more about the brand.
Refine Color Scheme and Layout
Minimal design places emphasis on each page element, as each one is important. Part of this technique is using a small and consistent color palette throughout the design and using it to guide the eye. This doesn’t mean the colors have to be bland or black and white; vibrant color is a great tool in minimal design for keeping users engaged.
Another way to emphasize elements is to use white space and placement to create meaning. For example, take into account the scanning “F” pattern that users view a page in, and place elements in that reading path.
Trent Walton’s site makes use of ample white space and subtle, intentional color to develop a smooth and minimal layout.
Simplified design is an excellent way to quickly and concisely convey your website’s message. A clean and open aesthetic allows for users to enjoy their interaction with your site while easily achieving what they need.
Note: Browse through case studies of redesigns to gain inspiration for the direction you want to take your site.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you think simplified design is for everyone? If not, who do you think should avoid the style? Got any examples of your own to share?