Monday, October 22, 2007

Minimalist Web Design - Why Less Really Is More

by Barbara Logan

The saying that less is more has been applied to everything from art to advertising. When it comes to website design, it has never been truer than it is today.

With all the cutting-edge technology and so many fabulous graphics to choose from or create, designers often want to throw everything they can into a website design. The result, rather than impressive, is hectic. With no focal point or easy-to-use and locate navigation bar, the user becomes confused and is often unable to navigate the site easily or at all. They leave and the website owner loses not just a visitor, but likely a sale.

A minimalist website, on the other hand, offers users a website that's easy to use and to navigate. With a well designed minimalist website, visitors can easily and quickly find exactly what they're looking for. They don't end up endlessly clicking to page after page, viewing information they can't use or have already seen on the site. Finding a site like this is like find an oasis in the middle of the desert. Whew! What a relief!

Think of Google, for example. Simple, basic and extremely efficient. Could anything be easier to use? It's the perfect example of just how effective website minimalism truly is.

While you probably don't want a website that's quite that bare, you do want a website design that is that simple and clean. Minimalist websites can be quite beautiful when designed well and exude class rather than scream too many messages. Great color and just enough graphics combined with the right amount of white space make a site less busy, making it simpler for a visitor to navigate. This is a refreshing and calming change for a web user, and makes a minimalist website one that they will appreciate and want to visit often.

Content on a minimalist website needs to be clear and concise too. While we've all heard that content is king, this doesn't mean that there needs to be tons and tons of content, especially if it has little substance. Information that is easily accessed and precisely written is far more effective than having too much content to sift through to find necessary information.

Too many website designers, unfortunately, overlook this need for easy navigation. Trying to get around clunky navigation to find the information you want is a bit like being plopped down in a flea market where everything is jumbled together. Infant clothes tossed in with women's clothes are then topped off with a stack of men's shirts. The effort to get through it all to find what you're looking for is exhausting and usually not worth the effort.

Minimal yet precise copy offers website visitors many benefits, primarily the advantage of being able to read on screen information without too many elements competing for their attention.

Finally, with technology making it possible to view the Internet on much smaller screens, minimalist website design is crucial. There just isn't room on a cell phone or palm pilot screen to see a great deal. With each advance in technology, less really is more.

About the Author

Barbara Logan researches and writes about general interest news items, including design, programming, photography, conservation and the environment. She has lived and worked in the United States, Europe, and Latin America since 1999. | Minimalist Web Design