We know that simple website design works best. At least, we’ve been told that. But why?
What is it about simple designs that makes them timeless, functional, and beautiful?
When you’re creating your own website, part of the reason a simple design style is so appealing is that — frankly — it means less work for you. After all, pages that are unfussy, uncluttered and clear are just easier to put together.
But there’s a lot more to it than that. There are three important reasons that you should consider paring down your website’s design elements and embracing simplicity.
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1. Simple websites load faster
How fast does your website appear on screen after you land on one of your pages? If it loads slowly, you’ll pay for it. How?
- Visitors will click away impatiently before it loads.
- Your site will come up lower in search results because Google uses site speed as part of its ranking algorithm.
- Many of your pages will never see the light of day.
There’s nothing wrong with images on your site, for example. It’s a good idea to use images in your marketing. But don’t use so many they slow your site down. And be sure they’re optimized to load fast.
2. Simple websites are easier to understand
Imagine living in a dark cave for many months. When you finally emerge after spending so much time below, your first reaction is to notice the blinding light, the variety of colors, the feel of the fresh air on your skin. There are so many sensory experiences happening at once, it’s overwhelming.
People arriving on your website are similarly disoriented. They’re not sure where they are, what they’ve found, or how to get around this new place.
Presenting information in the simplest, most pared-down way possible gives them a chance to get their bearings, adapt to the new environment, and quickly and easily find what they want.
Here are some tips for making your site easy to use, even for brand-new visitors:
- Make your text easy to skim by using lots of subheads to break up the paragraphs of copy.
- Unclutter your sidebar. Feature only the most essential information you need to convey. Consider moving some of your information to your footer, your About page, or elsewhere on your site.
- Use submenus in your navigation to group similar pages together. This will allow you to streamline your navigation menu and make it easier to use.
- Label your navigation items with universally understood terms. This isn’t the place to be cutesy or tricky.
3. Simple websites are a departure from the ordinary
Here’s another reason simple websites are great: by presenting your information simply, your site will stand out from most of the other sites on the web.
Did you ever see a home page that looked like it was designed by committee?
There’s a little of this, a little of that, a splash of the other. It looks like every department in the company was clamoring to be represented.
The result? A page that may make the internal folks feel great, but it’s a mess for the site visitor. They have to wade through way too much to get to what they’re looking for.
That’s why simple can be so surprising. It’s like a breath of fresh air in the midst of a cluttered Internet experience.
Simple really is beautiful. Ready to embrace it? Sign up for The Elements of Website Style, and head down to the comments to talk about what you’re doing to simplify your site.