If you’ve been paying attention to web design trends recently, you’ll realise that there’s been a shift from what we used to know as the standard website design to a system that follows a stripped back, minimalist approach.
This approach existed long before entering the world of web design; from architecture to interior decoration, the concept for some time now has been that ‘less is more’.
It’s safe to assume that the minimalist approach to web design can be traced to a study conducted by Google in 2012. The results revealed that internet users judge websites that are less complex to be more appealing than those replete with bells and whistles. In order words, it’s easier to make a good impression on visitors if your website is simple, rather than if you present them one that’s complex and difficult to understand.
To make things clearer, we’ll proffer a few reasons to buttress why less is still more, especially in today’s world of web design.
It allows for ease of use:
When it comes to designing a successful website, two things should be at the top of your mind: usability and functionality. You’ll want a website that’s easy to use, without compromising on delivering what users want. This is what a minimalist approach can achieve. If your website is full of complex elements, tricky navigation and a cluttered layout, rather than helping your users get what they came for, it will simply confuse them. This will lead to poor user experience, which has far reaching consequences for your website, such as a drop in page rank, high bounce rate and the possibility that you may lose customers.
If you add the fact that more and more people are using mobile devices to get information online, you’ll agree that there is a real need for website information to be displayed in a manner that suits both the point and click habits of desktop users and the tap and swipe habits of mobile users.
Better for reading:
A study demonstrated that roughly 79% of visitors will quickly scan an article, rather than take the time to read it. It will be difficult for scanners like these to identify the important aspects of your content when presented via a complex website. However, a minimalist approach makes it easy for the important components of your content to stand out when scanned. A minimalist approach makes use of a lot of white or negative space, which in turn makes the main content on your website stand out. This obvious contrast, accompanied by power headlines and suitably placed ‘Call to Actions’ will help scanners (and even readers) identify areas of importance on your website.
Allows for a more direct messaging:
Since the website will be made up of only the most important elements and less clutter, you’ll stand a better chance of making your unique selling point (USP) stand out more. This is the message that you convey to attract the attention of your target audience. Picture a homepage with a brilliant design that has a maximum of 10 words, apart from the navigation menu and some high-quality images. Any visitor will be immediately attracted to the words on the page, which makes the message easier to receive. If you take a good look at different websites, you’ll notice that all of them with properly defined USP’s use mostly minimal elements.
Allows for better conversion:
There are thousands of examples online that demonstrate how a minimalist design can help significantly improve conversion. Let’s compare two search giants, Yahoo and Google; everyone knows that Google is the top dog when it comes to the search engine industry. Could it be because they discovered the minimalist approach earlier? When you visit a search engine, you’ll most likely want to type in your search query, get the relevant results and get on with things thereafter - all of which you can do on Google very easily. The same cannot be said of Yahoo, whereby you’re inundated with news, gossip and just about anything in between.
Internet users are therefore more comfortable with websites where they can get the information they need, with minimal fuss, which is where minimalist design comes in.
When your website contains fewer elements and heavy media files, it will be using less server resources. Apart from the strain this will save your wallet, less strain on the server means faster page load speed. Internet users now expect the average website to load in under three seconds, which is something only a minimalist design can achieve. That doesn’t mean your website must load quickly because you use a minimalist design. There are many other things that can cause a website to load slowly, but once those other aspects are managed, you can be sure of a speed that meets the expectations of your users.
Experts at Top New Zealand hosting website, www.openhost.co.nz, sum it up perfectly by calling these technical advantages “the accidental side effects of a minimalist approach to web design”.
It boosts credibility:
Research has shown that 75% of internet users judge the credibility of a business on the design and appearance of its website. In other words, despite your best intentions, if your website looks like it was put together by a child with a watercolour, it will most likely reflect on the credibility of your business.
Minimalist websites portray a sense of seriousness and business readiness. Of course, if not executed effectively, it can seem like you have an unfinished website. However, if you ask me, better to have an unfinished website than a shoddy or garish looking one. It also shows visitors that your brand is abreast of the current trends - not just where websites are concerned, but possibly in all other aspects of your business. Also, a minimalist website is more aesthetically pleasing.
Granted, some of the points above will work well as advantages of good design principle, but the premise is the same. A minimalist approach forces you to consciously weigh up the pros and cons of every element or resource before placing it on a web page. At the very least, it’s making websites on the internet more attractive.
About the Author
Hello, I am Che and I have been designing websites for over 12 years now for small businesses across the globe.
I have a real passion for helping small businesses achieve their online goals. I am a big believer in educating my clients so that they have the necessary skills to perform daily tasks on their web sites and online. All clients are provided with one on one training, and our training videos can be viewed on our website.
I started CheDesigns back in 2012 when I moved to Australia from the UK with my small but awesome family.
I believe that every small business, just like YOURS, should be able to have an online presence at a reasonable price, but with a website that will help generate leads and sales. I have spent enormous hours developing the perfect website platform that clients can easily use but that also helps gain them success online.
Even after CheDesigns builds your website we will still be here to answer any ongoing questions you might have.