Minimalism in web design focuses on simplifying the look and user interface of a website, reducing the distractions on the page to just those essential elements.
Good user experience doesn’t always mean making the trendiest, most tech-heavy site. Applying minimalist principles can help to create websites that are far more usable and attractive to potential customers.
Having fewer elements on a page (especially attention-grabbing elements), simplifying what is on the page, or simply redesigning to improve the intuitiveness of the interactive elements can help your site implement minimalist principles that increase visitor engagement.
Put simply, this design concept revolves around pulling everything on your website back to only the essential elements, understanding that the straightforward experience and lack of distracting over-design will create a better experience for your customers.
Swiftly and effectively conveying the message of your business with the “less is more” approach leads to a more productive and more profitable website.
5 key features of minimalist design:
1. White Space / Negative Space
Negative space – often white – is the most common design element of minimalist websites. They empty space is used for multiple reasons, making it one of the most powerful tricks that is used in minimalist design.
Firstly, it contrasts with the other elements on the page, whether it is text, images, videos or products. By giving those elements room to breathe the negative space directs the eye towards each of the design features as they appear on the screen.
By having more or less negative space surrounding feature elements of your website you can guide how much attention is given to different areas of a web page. For example, a bold call to action button may have a larger area of negative space around it to make sure that there is nothing around to distract from it making it virtually impossible to miss.
Since the main point of negative space is to divert attention the colour is often chosen based on creating the greatest amount of contrast which is why white and black are commonly used, especially along with one or two bold, bright colours that the eye will be drawn to, but any colour can be used to fill the negative space.
2. A Strong Focal Point
Utilising negative space to make other elements more impactful only really works if the areas that you are drawing the eye to are powerful designs that will engage the viewer.
The content at the top of the landing page is particularly important since it is what will encourage visitors to spend time exploring your website.
To engage people immediately a mix of negative space, intriguing content and high quality design is necessary to make a strong impression. Occasionally utilising a bold or striking image can really bring these spaces to life.
These sections of less dense content should be used every so often through your bigger webpages to give visitors a mental break if they have been engaging with all your content, or as a chance to be re-captivated if they have just been skimming.
3. Powerful Yet Simple Design Choices
Minimalism doesn’t mean boring. To make your website stand out and excite your potential customers your website will need some powerful design elements to make sure that the personality of your business can shine through the simple design.
Bold colours are a very easy way to create visual interest that can be used consistently across the whole site without having to rely on using too many images or other busy visual elements.
To make sure that colours don’t overrun and ruin your minimalist design their usage should be limited – either by sticking to a monochromatic colour palette (different shades of the same colour), using only 1-3 key colours or in general only using colour on very important elements, like call to actions or important headings and links.
Since minimalist websites use so few visual elements, your copy becomes even more powerful. But to get people to actually read and engage with your text the words themselves need to become an artistic element. This means again utilising negative space to make your paragraphs more consumable but also using typography that captures attention and portrays your brands personality.
This could mean a playful font, lots of bold, italicised or underlined text, playing with text size, or – most likely – a mixture of all of these. Make your copy king.
4. Purposeful Copy
On the topic of your copy, make sure it is all purposeful.
On a minimalist website your content has nowhere to hide. On the one hand, this means that it is more likely to actually be read than on more heavily designed sites. But it also means that if your copy isn’t engaging, useful or interesting to the reader they probably won’t stick around.
By simplifying your web design you are putting all the focus on your business and what you can provide for your customers/clients. Your copy needs to prove your dedication to this, immediately. Customer experience starts the second they land on your website so make sure every step is designed with them in mind.
5. Simple, User-Friendly Navigation
In the world of design, minimalism is used to directly convey the message without the unnecessary noise and obstruction of focus due to other distracting elements. This includes the navigation of your site!
If you have made it this far with your minimalist design don’t ruin it now by hiding your website pages layers and layers deep in the navigation bar. A page should never be more than 3 clicks away from the landing page – less if it’s possible!
Utilise your simple design for your navigation system as well: clean colours, negative space, powerful typography and intuitive design for the customer experience.
A final thought…
Seeing the benefits of using minimalism to swiftly and effectively convey the message, the minimalist approach has taken root in many branches of design. Using a minimalist design for your website can make your site much more powerful at engaging your visitors with the values and personality of your business, creating loyal customers and clients.