How to Simplify Your Web Design

Thursday, September 22, 2016

 

Simplicity in web design wins customers. A 2012 study by Google revealed that complex web designs yielded fewer conversions than did simple web designs. In fact, the simpler the website, the more conversions that website earned. And, the more complex the website, the fewer the conversions it earned. People respond to simplicity because it makes it easier for them to digest and navigate a website. Their need for quick information is best satisfied with a clutter-free design that points them directly to the most useful content.

Creating this kind of simplified website, however, is sometimes easier said than done. The temptation is often to incorporate as many elements as possible in order to impress visitors. Cutting back on these options can feel a bit risky. However, by taking the risk, you could reap some pretty significant rewards in the form of greater engagement with your website and your business. Following are a few tips for simplifying your website without losing the elements that really matter to visitors.

Eliminate clutter using the 80-20 rule.

Also known as the Pareto Principle, the 80-20 rule states that 20 percent of the effort you put into a project yields 80 percent of the results. When applied to websites, it means that only 20 percent of a web page is responsible for 80 percent of the results that come from that web page. The reason? Most of the elements on your page do not effectively direct people to the action you want them to take.

In order to identify and eliminate these ineffective elements, make sure that everything you include in your custom web design has a purpose. Before it goes on your website, you should know why it is being included and what it should accomplish. When you are finished, your web page should be populated with content, images, and features that directly encourage visitors to convert.

Deliver a predictable layout and navigation.

A custom web design is a chance to let your business shine through the creative implementation of design elements. However, one of the biggest influences on a website’s success (as measured by conversions) is its predictability. In particular, websites that deliver a layout and navigation that visitors find familiar reap the most conversions and sales.

The reason for this phenomenon is the fact that a familiar layout and navigation make it simple for visitors to find their way around the site. Unfamiliar layouts and navigation, on the other hand, force people to spend more time figuring out how the website works. Instead of putting in that effort, many prefer to simply look elsewhere for a site that is easier to navigate.

SEE ALSO: 7 Obstacles to Purchase Completion on Your E-Commerce Website

If you wish to simplify your site, therefore, utilize a layout and a navigation that will be comfortable for your visitors. Doing so does not mean giving up your custom web design. Instead, it means not reinventing the wheel when it comes, for instance, to choosing a location for your shopping cart or the placement of your navigation bar. Keeping the basic layout and navigation the same can help you to create an intuitive experience for visitors.

Eliminate unnecessary web pages.

The size of your website will depend upon your business. For example, a large e-commerce website might have many pages, while a small nonprofit may only have a few. However, regardless of how large or small your website is, simplicity lies in cutting out the pages that are redundant or unnecessary.

There are a couple of strategies you can use to identify unnecessary web pages. The first is to use your analytics to identify pages that are not delivering conversions. If you see areas of your site that receive very few visitors, or that deliver very few conversions, you may benefit from eliminating those pages, because they clearly contribute little to the overall success of your site.

Another strategy you can use is to look for redundant pages. For example, you may not need a product page for the same product in different colors. Instead, consider combining these redundant pages into a single, stronger page. By minimizing the number of pages on your site, you create a simpler navigation with fewer options to overwhelm visitors.

Use white space to your advantage.

White space can be a critical element in creating an effective and simplified web design. White space serves a number of purposes on a web page. It highlights the content and images on the page so that the visitor can more quickly focus on them. It also provides the quiet space within which the visitor can absorb the information on the web page without distraction. And, when used correctly, white space can add to the overall beauty of the site.

If you are considering a custom web design (or web redesign), take the opportunity to build more white space into your web pages. If you eliminate unnecessary elements from your pages, it should be easier to incorporate white space into the places where the clutter used to reside. Your web developer should be able to incorporate white space that adds to the beauty and simplicity of your site without omitting elements that need to be on the page.

Limit your colors.

Just as you should limit the elements on each page and limit the number of pages you offer to those that are most effective, so should you limit the colors you use throughout your custom web design. As with many elements of web design, less can be more. For example, web sites that use shades of only one color (referred to as monochromatic sites) often achieve a high level of elegance and simplicity.

Even if you do use multiple colors, limiting your selections to a just a few can create a more cohesive look throughout your site. With fewer colors to distract them, and a thoughtful color palette to appeal to them, visitors will find it much easier to navigate your site and connect with your brand.

Creating a simplified website can improve your site’s overall performance. By eliminating clutter, delivering a predictable layout and navigation, eliminating unnecessary web pages, using white space to your advantage, and limiting your colors, you can create a web site that is both beautiful and effective.

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Posted in: Austin Web Design, How To, Quick Tips, Web Design, Web Design Resource, Web Development, WordPress web design, WWW Learning Center

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