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Why minimalistic web design

Thursday, September 19th, 2013 by Servage

Using minimalism in web design creates decent user experiences without giving up the cool factor. In this post, I discuss some key  principles and practices of minimalism.

Unlike in the past, this new generation looks for some sober and hip designs in its web experiences. Hence, we designers must express a handful of sober colors and fewer UI elements to de-clutter the screens of our different sized gadgets. Of course we live in a multiple screens era, where internet is accessible on handheld devices too.

This multi-screen compatibility leads us to create responsive web designs, more and more. With this in mind, minimalism is the best way to avoid clutter and noise, using a scarce number of UI elements. This facilitate users to focus their tapping on a simplified layout, and still have room to create excellent user experiences, using a wide spectrum of colors, textures, fonts, etc.

Less Is More

These three words lead modern web designers to prune their content wisely and efficiently. They tend to cut the useless elements, texts, or even less visited pages from their websites. Inevitably, this focuses users on the vital parts of website content, where readability and user experiences matter most. One more benefit of minimalism is the improvement in performance, as you are reducing the images and other files, in terms of KBs and codes. And so your website loads rapidly.

With fewer UI elements, your interactions becomes quicker, yet comprehensive, as the chances of confusion are lessened to a greater degree. We can then concentrate more on content quality and enhance it appropriately. Moreover, from the SEO perspective, you have ample space to improve ranking factors with less effort, compared to big, rich websites.

Some Tips

With a minimalist approach, we have fewer text paragraphs, images, icons and buttons, though enough white spaces to create a suitable grid system for mobile friendly designing and coding. When designing via minimalism, you must overcome confusions, particularly with what is a distraction. These are items you should get rid of.

In my experience, I usually avoid second and third level navigation pages, except in cases of certain e-commerce web stores. I also avoid ending with “feeds” like Facebook, other social networking site feeds, comment feeds, etc. As these feeds are unnecessary for favorable user experiences and can instead create distractions, I find it is better to avoid them altogether. I have the same opinion for counters, such as “Like” counters from social media, “Total visit” counters, etc. Instead, we can solve our social networking needs with just simple buttons.

In many websites, depicting good graphics is essential to convey our messages. However, an overwhelming amount tends to be more harmful than helpful, so keep graphics small in numbers and file size. To clarify, I don’t mean creating boring web pages or plain designs with minimalism. We still have a spectrum of colors, typography, textures, white spaces, interactive elements to make our website vibrant. Moreover, we can still deliver useful and dynamic content for tech savvy audiences.

If you have a good eye for texture designing, you can definitely make websites look and feel like eye candy. By making appropriate selections of colors, you create a theme in conjunction with the texture and typography. Of course, you must have enough cultural knowledge of colors to hit the minimalism target in the right ways. With current trends, most minimalistic designers prefer flat designs, and so selection of appropriate fonts becomes vital for the success of minimalist designs.

References & More Reading

The how and why of minimalism
Principles of Flat Design

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