Blog 28/07/2015

Minimalist Web Design 2015 (a few rules)

Compared to websites from 10 years ago all websites look more minimalist. But how far can you go?

Minimalist web design has been quite a trend in 2015. To me it makes sense. In today’s environment where we devour information from a wider selection of websites, at a faster pace, I don’t think there is room for clutter. Clutter doesn’t enhance my experience it simply gets in the way of information I am trying to seek. If it doesn’t need to be there take it away. Plus it makes room for beautiful typography, large imagery and better colour palettes.

I do not think we should get carried away though. In each of this blog posts I’m sure at some point I have said ‘every website has a different audience, message and user’ therefore one design does not fit all. I am going to extend this statement to ‘one design type‘ does not fit all.

The downside to minimalism is the danger of taking out elements that are needed on a website because we feel they are adding clutter. If as a designer we hide them so the website looks nice – we have actually just produced another click, and frustrated the user by making them think harder. So I have made produced some rules and guidelines for myself and clients to consider when designing. Rules for minimalist web design 2015 are as follows

DO NOT

Rule 1 – Do not change words because other words look nicer. If you need to say ‘Interior Design’ say it. Don’t shorten it to ‘Design’ because it looks better. Say what you mean.

Rule 2 – Do not cut out features you need. If you need a navigation bar – have one. Do not try and hold lots of content in mobile style navigation if it requires the user to click on it too much. This is especially true of larger websites. Imagine if Amazon hid their navigation?

Rule 3 – Do not let buttons blend into the design. Give buttons and call to actions some hierarchy. Minimal design does not mean that elements of your site should get lost in the design.

Rule 4 – Do not cut the amount of information for the sake of it.  Give your user the amount of information they are looking for. Bite sized information is great but it needs to serve its purpose.

Rule 5 – Do not ask for a minimalist site like ‘google’. Google is there to get you off their website as fast as possible. You will no doubt be aiming to keep people on your site for as long as possible. Keep it engaging.

Rule 6 – Beware of vanishing navigation. It only works on very few sites.

Do

Remove features and clutter which don’t support the users goals.

Add one strong image rather than 10 weak images.

Understand that badly designed minimalist can just look boring. Balance is more important than ever. Typography and imagery have to be stronger than ever to make the design work.

Use strong colour palettes or monochrome

Don’t be scared of white space but use it wisely! Think about responsive design. White space on a large desktop looks great – can you capture that same effect on mobile?

I generally work on small scale websites where ecommerce functionality is relatively simple. On larger websites minimalism becomes tricky as we are taking the user on a different journey. We need them to take different routes and have more options, there fore these options have to be shown within the design.

We have come along way since the flash sites, which tended to be more complex. We have also come along way since the templates and ready coded websites which allowed us to design with no code. theses tended to result in the all singing all dancing websites. We know that users prefer to be able to control the site – with videos not just playing loudly, and bleeps going every time we click.

I guess it becomes about balance. I personally love the humanoid website. It has personality, simlicity and is easy to use. It suits the clothes it is selling and just works. The alternative is lingscars which I am not going to show or link to for sake that it is overshown and too far an extreme!! Google it.

humanoid

 

Please do contact if you would like a website with good user experience and less clutter and more substance!