Keeping web design simple

Less really can be more

Why you should keep it simple when designing your new website

Keeping the design of a website simple is one of our golden rules; maintaining simplicity is THE most effective factor to consider if you’re thinking about a refresh or a brand new website. Website design is not just about producing a work of aesthetic brilliance, or spewing as much information as you can muster all over an unsuspecting online audience – it’s about producing a functional tool for attracting traffic and converting visitors into customers.

Achieving simplicity is a little like a swan gliding majestically across the calm water while underneath the surface, webbed feet are paddling away. It takes quite a lot of thought, discipline and effort from both the guys in our studio and our clients, to makes sure that each website design we produce is as effective a sales or marketing tool as possible – and that means keeping things simple.

Firstly, we need to understand what is essential to achieve the objectives for the site; key information, vital calls to action, links that engage visitors, colour-schemes that work best and so on..– we’ll call this list a.

List b considers what would be nice to have; from the perspective of the website owner, and the target audience. Provided nothing here detracts from list a, or is cost prohibitive, it can stay, otherwise it’s out.

Here are a few things that the guys in our studio always consider when choosing the necessary design features for our customers’ websites:

Content is the king of good website design, and whilst your landing page must have your key value message; too much content is clutter that you won’t need, it distracts visitors and will probably cause them to leave. Visitors to your website always ask what’s in it for them, so decide on a headline and a tone that makes it clear immediately.

You must offer clear navigation; if you have too many tabs on show visitors to your website are going to head for the hills. A website should be an easy place to be and should be simple to use; if 20 percent of the design elements deliver 80 percent of the overall value, you’re on to a winner. Crisp fonts and instructions will also enhance the visitor experience. Check out any major search engine or social media home-page and you’ll see some examples of how simple is perfect.

Speed is always good; web users have a short attention span and a slow-loading website is a real turn off. Faster is better, and your design should have a minimal download overhead, so don’t be tempted to include any functional elements that don’t deliver sufficient value to the site, Your new website is probably going to incorporate responsive design to make it more accessible to mobile internet users; keeping it simple will also help to maximise your appeal to this growing population.

Build your site more quickly with a designing plan that is simple; simple code is easier to test and debug if necessary and the backend should always be as simple as your frontend to make website maintenance as hassle-free as possible.

Visitors are more likely they to share you with others if they have a good visitor experience. Keeping it simple will help get your website seen by a wider audience. Some visitors will even share you because they appreciate how simple your website design is.

Optimising form and function is all about achieving a balance; maximising the performance of a website and maintaining clarity in design is what designers seek to deliver…or they should!

Are you working on the redesign of your website and have a question about simplicity?
Does your new website need to have lots of functions/features but still be easy to use?
Do you have any experiences of websites that are over-designed – share some examples with us?

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