Minimalism in web design
Web designers achieve minimalism when they reduce unnecessary elements and only present the essential elements in their designs. This sounds quite simple, but some of the simplest ideas are very difficult to master; and achieving minimalism in web design is an ongoing battle for many web designers.
Even so, there are several benefits to mastering minimalist design. Many internet users no longer view minimalist design as boring and unappealing, and in the age of information overload, a growing number of internet users actually prefer minimalist design. From a technical perspective, minimalist websites have shorter load times and a smaller footprint in regards to server side resources. Additionally, once you master the principals of minimalist design, minimalist websites are typically quicker to design and implement than more graphically involved designs. Below are a few basic principles of minimalist design.
Reduce the clutter
Following the very definition of minimalist design, web designers must reduce the clutter and remove unnecessary elements to achieve minimalism. The simplest way to achieve this is by not adding unnecessary elements in the first place. If an element only looks nice and is not practical and obvious in a minimalist design scheme, it is nothing more than clutter.
In minimalist design, white-space isn’t merely the leftovers in a design layout, white-space is the design. White-space has significance in minimalist designs. White-space gives elements room to breathe. Reducing the amount of white-space in a minimalist design makes areas that would otherwise have clearly defined and separate boundaries seem crowded and clunky. White-space makes items stand out on the page because the designer intended them to, not because they don’t blend with other elements on the page.
Unlike graphical designs where a small glitch can go unnoticed to the untrained eye, even the smallest mistakes are magnified in minimal designs. Web designers can align elements a variety of ways in minimal designs, but if an element is off by a single pixel, the mistake can tarnish the design layout. Grids help web designers keep elements perfectly aligned and neat. Grids are also useful for all stages of the design process, from the sketching phase all the way to development.
Don’t slack on usability
When it comes to minimal design, usability should never take a backseat. In an attempt to reduce clutter, several designers forget that an end user still needs to navigate minimalist websites. Several designers overlook basic usability rules when designing new minimalist websites. Designers don’t have to shy away from innovative styles and practices when designing minimalist sites, but they should always keep functionality and usability in mind. Here are a few usability tips for minimalist designs:
- Always provide a clear and obvious way for site visitors to reach the home page
- Navigation in minimalist designs should be consistent and feel as if it’s almost reading the visitor’s mind
- Links should be easy to distinguish from regular text and elements, and they should be easy to click on
- Site visitors should easily be able to see the current page they’re viewing
- Website content should be legible with defined and obvious headlines
Don’t be afraid of color
Minimalist design doesn’t mean designers should stick to black and white themes and shy away from more vibrant color palettes. Minimalist design has room for any color in the rainbow. In fact, using color in minimalist designs not only adds to the aesthetics of a website, but using color can add to the functionality of the site as well. Using color in minimalists’ designs immediately attracts the reader’s eye and tells him that a colored element is important. Designers can use color to their advantage in minimalist designs to draw attention to call to action areas of a website.