When and How to Simplify Your Website Design

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The old maxim “less is more” is so well known primarily because it is blindingly simple. However, it is also genuinely true.  There are so many areas of life, work, and leisure where this seems to be the case – and web design is really no exception here. 

Whether you are designing a website yourself or hiring a professional, clutter is your enemy. A good website needs, foremost, to be easy to understand and use. It has been shown that visitors make up their mind about a website in less than a second, and it takes much more than this to click the top right X.

Part of this first impression is aesthetic – a website really does need to look good. However, clutter here is also the enemy, not only because it makes the website difficult to navigate, but also because it just looks bad. 

What we can conclude then is that an aesthetically appealing website and one which is simple to use and quickly directs the user to where they want to go, are actually one and the same. Lots of negative space, clear SEO optimized headings, navigation links, and a judicious use of color and images will achieve both ends – they will make the website both attractive and effective. 

It is therefore not at all a stretch to say that clutter will spoil a website design – regardless of what you are aiming for. 

When Should a Website Be Simplified?

Peak Design, a web designer out of Sacramento, has some useful advice for simplifying your website – actually simplify it, don’t just try to create an optimal website on the first go. It is better to work with something and make it simple. 

To do this though, you need to know what a website that requires simplification looks like. Of course, a load of links leading in different directions and a layout dominated by pop-ups and ads can be considered “too cluttered”. However, changing this to a website that is perfect for you takes some fine tuning. 

It might be better then to think of things to avoid and remove these if you notice them on your website. More specific advice depends on the website itself, but here are some things you should certainly avoid:

Too Many Page Levels 

Ask yourself how you navigate from the homepage to the page where a desired action can be carried out, such as a purchase or description. No page on the site should take more than three clicks to get to – and it is better to stick to one or two. 

No Negative Space 

Negative space is actually vitally important for a website. This is an aesthetic concern at first because without blank spaces between content the website will look very cluttered. Nevertheless, negative space also directs users by limiting the options available. It should be clear what the visitor is expected to do. 

Badly Formatted Text 

This is another one that is at first an aesthetic concern. Text needs to be inviting, legible, and skimmable. In fact, it should be clear what an item of text is about from the heading. Formatting these properly and deciding ahead of time where the links will go is essential. 

Poor Brand Presence 

Another thing a website should always do is advertise your brand. This will not be possible if it is cluttered. Your organization name and logo should be always visible, but not intrusive.

For perfect website design, you will probably need to go to a professional. By keeping these simplification tips in mind though, you can know what to expect – and to insist upon.