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Simple Web Designs Work Better

The benefits of simple design

User benefits

  • Load faster – less waiting
  • Render faster – quicker reponsiveness
  • Usually clearer, easier to scan
  • Easier to navigate

Commercial benefits

  • Are quicker to design (more profit)
  • Quicker to build (more profit)
  • Quicker to redesign (following client or user feedback – more profit)
  • Require less server disk space and bandwidth (lower costs)
  • Are easier to maintain (more profit)
  • Are easier to make work on different platforms and browsers (more profit)

Designer benefits

  • As well as all the money, all the above leave more time for creative thinking

How to design simply

It’s not as easy as it sounds. Creating simple designs takes courage, clear vision, and skill. It definitely gets easier with practice. How do you practice designing simply?

Remember your goals

Keep your goals (the goals of the site and the users’ goals) fresh in your mind by writing them down and repeating them at the beginning of each design session. If you get tired or feel like you’ve lost touch with the message you wish to project – STOP! Take a break, then come back refreshed and look at your goals again.

Think-then-do »

Look first with fresh eyes.
Say, "I’m going to…"
Then, just do it.
Trust yourself completely.

Use Occam’s razor

Occam’s Razor is an intellectual tool that basically states that, given any two solutions to the same problem, the simpler solution will be the best. This applies to the discipline of web design very well.

Applying Occam’s Razor to web design will help you find the most elegant and direct solution to your design problems.

  • Simple, conventional, recognisable layouts (like this site selling drawings of horses that you know work will be more likely to work for your users than complicated, innovative designs.
  • A simple message will be understood better than a complicated one
  • Interactions with simple, clear steps and few instructions will be completed by more people than a long, wordy alternative
  • Clear, uncluttered, recognisable visual design will reduce cognitive friction, reduce mistakes, and help visitors succeed

In many cases, pursuing design simplicity simply saves time and money. Or rather it finds room in a budget for thinking creatively about the real design problems, which is where you can discover the solutions that deliver true competitive advantage.

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