Ahh the art of simplicity! There’s definitely something sleek and clean about design that’s straightforward, no frills, and simple. A sense of freedom and convenience seems to pervade websites that get right to the point without complicated content or gaudy graphics. While some designers may leap at the chance to fill a site’s whitespace with every attention-getting element possible, others opt for a more low-key approach and simplicity is its name.
Perhaps you, too, have this approach in mind, but where to begin? It’s not always easy to think simplicity in the constant motion, fast and furious society we live in. However, doing so doesn’t have to be a complex ordeal.
In this post, we slow down a bit and give some contemplative thought to the elements of simplified design. Below we’ve managed to develop five steps to simplicity – just to make it easier for you.
1. Stick to the Basics
What are the primary aspects of your site? What’s the essence of the image you’d like to convey? Getting a site down to its basic elements can be a great start toward simplifying. All it takes is a little deliberation. Take some time to think carefully about the most important details, content and functions of your site. Then, include those and only those elements that matter most.
You might say, that’s easy to point out, but how do I know what’s essential when it all seems so necessary? The best way to whittle a site down to its necessities is to take a step back from it and view it as an object like, for example, an empty canvas. Decide on a main focal point for them and organize no more than five elements around that focus. This works wonders!
2. Less Volume, More Value
Sometimes, the benefits of simplicity come from simply lightening the load. A site needs a certain flow and cohesion, and what better way to accomplish this than by reducing the number of pages. So many visitors are looking for any reason at all for a way to click away from the site, and they’ll certainly use any reason to do so – including page overload. Reducing page numbers give visitors less reasons to click away and more reasons to stay.
3. One Window Quick View
Some of the most user friendly sites practice this simple and courteous gesture. Streamlined, simplified design manages to get all pertinent content onto one page and above the fold. This means that visitors don’t need to scroll down to find the most important info. Now that is one step to simplicity that a user can really appreciate!
Of course, not every website is amenable to such above the fold presentation. That’s why it’s important to note that all vital information can be kept above the fold, but this doesn’t mean that details should be omitted entirely. Details and other elements can be positioned as far down the page as is necessary. Remember, it’s a tried and true fact that visitors, always in a hurry, adore a page that gives a quick one window view of the important aspects of a page — so there’s a very little effort needed to enjoy it.
4. Calm Colors
Take a fresh, objective look at your color scheme? Are there too many colors involved? Even worse, is the sheer number of different colors confusing and distracting to the eyes. When it comes to colors it’s not difficult to throw caution to the wind and dive right in, adding color after color to suit your design fancy. When it comes to colors, however, simplifying calls for a very basic color scheme with 3 to 4 colors max. It’s nice when the colors blend well with the content, but not so nice when they steal the show.
Knowing the general characteristics and steps it takes to create a simple site should get you off to a great start designing your own. Know some other ways to simplify a site? Feel free to let us know.