Minimalist Web Design: Where Less is More

By Sandra D’Souza

Do you want to turn website visitors into prospects? Then pare down your web design into the bare essentials to keep them engaged.

Nothing flashy, keep it classy

In our fast-paced world, consumers can easily purchase clothing, mobile devices, holiday experience – just about anything – with a push of a button. The Internet and developments of technology have made laborious tasks easier to do.

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Of course, this has fed the mindset that everything can be done in an instant. This is especially relevant when it comes to consuming information on the web. Anything that requires effort to access can easily be tossed aside, in favour of something that can be understood at a moment’s glance. The average attention span of a website user lasts for only four seconds in a study done this year. In 2013, the average was six seconds. Therefore, the attention span of a web site visitor is becoming shorter by the year, which means you only have so much room to keep them coming back for more.

With this in mind, how can you capture the interest of your site visitors? The answer lies in having a simple design, which requires less effort to comprehend. Some well-known news sites and brands have realised this, and revamped their website design accordingly. Time, for instance, broke down its interface into defined columns, big pictures and clean lines so that users could get around faster. Others have followed suit, because a minimal layout will be more convenient for users browsing through their mobile devices. On the part of the designers, a minimalist approach enables them to achieve economy to provide room for internet ads. And of course, a simple layout speeds up loading time.

A minimal design has a limited color palette, and uses up to three fonts only. Implement this and your website will go easy on the vision of your visitors. Power this up with great content, and remove the troublesome add-ons and elements that make your site slower to load. An effective design should unveil your site in a matter of 2.5 to 3.0 seconds to target the attention of your visitors.

In addition to plain aesthetics, your website also needs to be user-friendly. Make sure that your visitors could easily glide from one page to the next. Create straightforward menus, and your “About Us” page should be easily visible. Never forget to prominently include your contact details if you require customers to contact you; and make it more interesting with unique details about your company or your staff. Keep the information up-to-date so that your audience is continually enticed with something new with each visit.

A simple web design doesn’t mean it has to be boring at all. There are different ways to roll out a minimalist layout. You could use one colour in varying shades; go for a flat-look style or a tiled format to present content. Add images and videos to add visual enhancements as long as they are not disruptive, or a hindrance to the user’s experience. For videos, avoid using Flash as this prevents them from working properly on mobile devices.


Simplicity always works 

What if a minimalist design is all it takes to turn visitors into patrons? It might be time to get your website down to the bare essentials. A plain, straightforward layout ensures that your content iseasy to access on tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices. Having a layout such as this would pitch your business as attentive to the needs of its customers. This is essentially theprinciple of responsive design, which ensures that the elements of your site can be seen properly whether it is on a desktop monitor or a smartphone screen.

When your website sports a responsive design, the content and the information of your company would have a wider reach across a broader segment of the populace. It would also keep your business up to speed with customers who prefer to use mobile devices over their desktop computers for convenient browsing. You wouldn’t want to lose out on a potential market just because of an old-fashioned website. A responsive layout would not affect your content, and it would not be inferior in performance with proper implementation.

In addition to creating a responsive site, a clean, plain design would also help you to reducebounce rate; that is, the number of visitors that leave your website from the entry page without navigating to any other page. Naturally, web sites that are difficult to use and are slow to load would turn away potential customers. To address this, implement a usability testing to see how your page fares for user experience. You may also want to check on the load time of your site to ensure it opens smoothly.

With a minimal design, you would be able to expand the viewership of your site and cater to a wider market. Who knows, it may be the catalyst that could turn your visitors into brand advocates in the future. As the old saying goes, ‘sometimes less is more’.

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