In minimalist web design, the site loses elements that aren’t 100% necessary and keeps only what is needed for it to function. The main goal of the page is the most important thing. Advantages of this style include faster loading times and a good balance of white space.
According to Statista, more than 50% of Google searches occur via mobile devices. Removing unnecessary clutter helps your design translate well to smaller screen sizes. However, there are many advantages to a simpler design for desktop users, too. After all, a cluttered site adds to user confusion.
You should even keep features such as color gradients or animation to a small portion of your pages. If you’re ready to give minimalist design a try, here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.
Minimalist Design Do’s
Even though minimalist design became popular as far back as the 1960s, it evolved as trends changed and technology advanced. The rules aren’t always clear. You may wonder just what you should include and how to come up with a strong design users respond to. Here are some clear directions and examples to help you see how this style works.
Do: Know Your Page’s Goal
Your first step to cutting the clutter is understanding the purpose of the page. A landing page may have a singular objective of gathering emails. A home page may have the aim of informing about the company or a product. Every element should point the site visitor toward an action that reflects the underlying purpose.
American Copper Buildings has a goal for its page, and that is to collect leads. Everything else is kept very simple. The background has a monochrome look and fades into the rest of the design. The text has plenty of negative space and doesn’t overlap. The colors are all centered on the coppery brown theme. Even the form is kept simple, only requesting a name and email.
Do: Highlight the Product
If you sell a product, keep the focus of the page on images of it. It’s easy to get distracted with interesting backgrounds, catchy headlines and even your calls to action (CTAs). However, when you want to convert site visitors into buyers, keeping the focus solely on your most popular stock is a smart move.
Juiced Bikes does an excellent job of highlighting its beautiful bikes. Each model has some unique features you won’t find on an ordinary bicycle. Some promote riding faster, some are for in-town riding and some are for comfort. The slideshow flips through the different models and offers a quick explanation of the purpose of each one.
At the same time, the background is kept super simple, with only some gray lines across the bottom imitating a road or motion. The colors are red, black and white with a dash of gray.
Do: Limit Navigation
Even though website navigation is an important element of your site’s hierarchy, it can also distract visitors from the purpose of a page. You can either do away with all navigation, or you can reduce it to a hamburger menu or a few links that expand. By removing other options, you drive buyers through the sales funnel.
Union Green keeps its navigational hierarchy as simple as possible. There are two CTA buttons. One reads “Learn More,” and the other says “Shop Now.” Users have two options. While there is additional navigation at the top of the page, it points to the products, photos and an About Us page. Visitors have a clear path to take when they land on this site.
Don’ts for Minimalist Designs
While there are some clear tips for improving a design and making it simpler, there are also some big nos to keep in mind. Remember, the goal is to create a beautiful and useful design, not make it more complicated or lacking in essential features.
Don’t: Bog Your Site Down
You can keep a design simple and still have slow load times. Pay attention to any scripts, images or videos that slow things down. People won’t wait around for your site to load. No matter how well-spaced elements are, if your page takes more than a few seconds to open, it needs cleaning up.
Run your website through a checker such as Pingdom’s speed test. See how your site measures up and take the advice for improvements. Choose a server and hosting plan with good speed. Reduce image file sizes.
Don’t: Forget Your Branding
Just because your design is simple doesn’t mean it should ignore basic branding do’s. Add your logo to the upper left corner or top center of your page. Stick to your company color palette. Make sure messaging is on point with what you stand for as a brand.
Don’t: Drown Users in Text
Some designers make the mistake of limiting background, videos and photographs only to add too much text. A minimalist design limits all elements on the page. Leave only vital information and cut anything unnecessary.
Make every word on your page count. If it doesn’t add to the purpose of the page, it must go. It’s OK to use larger type for headlines, but don’t overdo it. Keep in mind that you want lots of negative space for minimalist design.
Make Life Easy on Site Visitors
Once you’ve gone through the do’s and don’ts of minimalist web design and feel you have a strong page, take a step back from your work. Look at it through the eyes of your visitor. Is anything unclear or might require more work than needed? If the signup process has too many steps, you risk losing leads. Keep every aspect of the page easy.
You may not have a perfect minimalist page the first time you try. Keep working on different elements, cutting what users don’t access and simplifying things until your site converts at a rate you like.
Guest Post: Author Bio
Lexie is a digital nomad and graphic designer. If she’s not traveling to various parts of the country, you can find her at the local flea markets or hiking with her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.