Simplicity can be beautiful, and nowhere is that more evident than in website design. A 2012 Google study of website design showed that people were more attracted to simple website designs. Simpler designs consistently rated higher than “visually complex” ones. You can get more website visitors, and get them to spend more time on your site if you simplify your website design.
That’s a good piece of information to know, especially when you consider your mobile website visitors. They don’t just like simple website design, they need it! What should you consider if you plan to simplify your website design? Think about the following attributes.
Three ways to simplify your website design
User expectations. Design is always a balance between form and function, but “function” tends to toward the universal. User expectations are built on function. If your website is hard to figure out, or uses “unfamiliar” layouts, that’s a sure sign that it’s time to simplify your website design.
Minimally, your website design should contain the functions that users universally expect. That might be a catalog, product descriptions, searching, a secure shopping cart, inventory location, navigation aids. Use whatever the “standard” is for your industry or line of business. That doesn’t mean you can’t include other functions that may distinguish your business or elevate it above your competitors. It just means that your customers have an expectation “floor” and your website needs to meet it.
White space. There’s something soothing about white space. It’s uncrowded. It makes no demands. It gives the user time to look. And think. It helps the user focus on just one thing at a time. It’s a great way to simplify your website design. Reduce the amount of text, and increase the amount of space devoted to products or services. Your users will thank you.
Reduce the website’s complexity. One sure way to simplify your website design is to reduce its complexity. Complex websites require users to work hard. They need to put more effort into reading. They need to find and understanding your content. Complex websites are tiring. Visitors tend not to stay very long. You should strive for design that’s easy to read, easy to understand and easy to look at. This is where good design can help. Colors, typography, layout and photographs should all combine to help you achieve these goals.
Take advantage of simple human nature
There’s another good reason to simplify your website design. The human brain can only store a few pieces of information at a time! Here’s where things can get really good (or really bad) for your website design. If your visitor immediately encounters obstacles on your website, or has to balance too many pieces of short-term information, his brain stops. The visitor immediately has to decide whether to push forward or move along. Without some other motivation, the user is most likely to go elsewhere. Why? His experiences tell him that he’s likely to be more successful in a situation he “connects with” more immediately.
If you’d like more information about ways to simplify your website design, please contact our Creative Director, Dave Ramsell or give Dave a call at (330) 243-0651 to set up a consultation.
Photo Credit: Daniel Sjöström, via Flickr.com