Minimalistic Web Design, and Graphic Design in general, has been growing in popularity over the last 12 months, and in 2020 is likely to become one of the most widely used design trends. But why?
Minimalistic Web Design is all about simplifying the user experience by removing any unnecessary elements that cloud the message that the website is trying to communicate. With too many distractions the brain cannot concentrate fully, and so with Minimalistic Web Design we aim to make the entire experience easier on the brain, and indeed the eye.
When you present a simple, clear, easily identifiable and understandable message, achieving a timely conversion is far more likely.
When you visit a minimalistic website, you won’t find any unnecessary tabs, drop-down menus or pop-ups, etc, etc.
What you will find is lots of negative space, big and strong images, contrasting colours and bold typography.
There’s a number of solid arguments as to why taking a minimalist approach to your website design works best:
- Easy to Navigate – People are short on time. They want to be able to find the information they are looking for immediately. They really really REALLY don’t want to have to work hard to find it. A simplified navigation process means less clicks to find the content they require.
- Fast! – If there’s less going on then it takes less time to load the page, and as in the point made above, people don’t have the time to wait for your welcome videos, cool animations and sound bites to load. Minimal content = minimal load times.
- Less to break – When you have a tonne of features, plugins, apps and so on, there’s more to break, meaning that site maintenance can be as much of a chore as building the site in the first place. A minimalistic approach keeps things super-clean and running like a dream.
- Relevant for longer – Design trends change at great pace, yet minimalistic approaches stay crisper and sharper for longer, reducing the amount of revision required. If you spend less time keeping your site relevant you create more time to do the things that really matter.
- Search Engines LOVE IT! – Minimalism makes it super easy for search engine bots to crawl. The simplified code allows them to crawl at lightning fast pace, and search engines love that!
- Memorable – Clean, crisp and bold designs stick firmly in the mind. They leave an imprint in the mind’s eye that last way longer than a site full of clutter. This makes an individual’s recall of the information you have communicated much easier and faster.
There are of course a few negative elements to taking a minimalistic approach to your website design:
- It can be harder to communicate more complex concepts.
- Going “over-minimalistic” can leave a design appearing unfinished and rough around the edges.
It depends entirely on your end-user as to whether taking a minimalistic approach is right for you. A business consultant might find that a minimalistic web design creates a barrier to communicating their products and services effectively, whilst a photographer may experience a surge in visitors and interaction by going minimal. You have to fully understand the people you are trying to reach in order to know whether a minimalisticapproach will work for you or not.
So, you’ve decided that minimal is optimal. How do you implement it?
Use White Space
White space is the space around your content. Using lots of white space draws immediate focus and attention to the content of the page, in the exact order you want the user to see it.
White space creates impact, a little like using a highlighter pen in a book.
White space captivates your audience.
Use no more than three colours on the page.
Balance vivid colours with more subtle tones and stick to colour pallets that work together. You want to use colour to create emotion in your user – good emotion! You can use colour pallets to stimulate, excite and create passion and urgency. Of course, bad colour choices can do the complete opposite.
Use Beautiful Fonts
There are so many amazingly beautiful fonts out there that are bold and as with colour choice, a solid font choice can really stir up emotion.
Please, whatever you do, DO NOT USE COMIC SANS!!!!!
The confident use of white space coupled with subtle colour choices can massively enhance the way a user interprets your font choices. This allows you a freedom to experiment with less commonly used fonts that you wouldn’t normally have.
Make Navigation Simple
We’ve already eluded to this but remove the “too much choice” from your menus to make it faster and easier for your user to navigate your content.
Not only does it make it easier to find what they are looking for, it also ensures that you focus your content accordingly, using less pointless blurb to fill your page.
Use Text Blocks
Stay away from paragraph after paragraph and break up your content in to blocks. Position your blocks in order of how you want your visitors to read/view the content.
Remember, when someone reads they read left to right, top to bottom. Even when scanning. So, ensure that any message you communicate takes this approach.
Pictures Speak a Thousand Words
Use carefully selected images. Big, bold, and bright will stir emotion, and a well thought out image may allow you to reduce to amount of text required to communicate your message. Let your imagery do “some” of the talking for you.
It’s in the detail
Small little detailing, used sparingly, can completely transform your design. Something as simple as a little underscore on your navigation menu to highlight the page they are viewing completely changes a user’sunderstanding of where on the site they are currently sat.
Small details can turn a minimalistic website design into an amazing user experience.
Never sacrifice your websites usability for trendy visuals. It doesn’t work. Focus instead on creating a simplistic, well organised approach to presenting your data, and continually strive to make a user’s experience as efficient as possible.
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