As a digital marketing agency based in Colorado Springs, Succeeding Small understands the importance of getting small businesses the visibility they deserve. As a small business ourselves, we know that small businesses bring immense value to the community, and, with years of experience working alongside local, family-owned businesses to provide them with strategic digital marketing plans, digital marketing plays an important role in getting your business noticed and attracting new customers.
One important piece of digital marketing is website design. Succeeding Small has worked with many businesses over the years to craft their perfect website, so we are no stranger to great web design. While there are many techniques and strategies for designing a great website, there is only one design technique whose motto is “less is more”: minimalism.
The goal of minimalist design is to present content in a streamlined and direct way such that there is minimal distraction from the core content. The strategy of minimalism often involves removing unnecessary content that does not support the primary goal of its users. This may include getting rid of copy, graphics, images, animations, and any other content not intended to support the core content of the web page.
An Overview of Minimalism
While minimalist technique has been around for a very long time, minimalist design is relatively new in the world of web design.
Starting in the mid-2000s, early adopters of the minimalist art movement began to incorporate minimalist design in their web interfaces, which included larger amounts of negative space, restricted color palettes, and lower amounts of content overall.
Then in 2010 to 2013, the emergence of responsive web design set the stage for minimalism. During this time, user and designer preferences started to lean toward greater simplicity in web interfaces, as responsive web design encourages designers to optimize their web pages for a multitude of screen sizes and devices.
Beginning in 2014, minimalist designs started showing up all over the internet. From e-commerce websites to online publications, designers began to adopt minimalist strategies. At this time, almost all templates on website builders were minimalist designs because this is what companies believed customers wanted from a website.
Today, minimalism is still a viable option for designers, and the movement has branched into other web design trends, such as flat design and responsive web design.
Principles of Minimalism
With minimalism defined and a general overview of how the minimalist movement entered the realm of web design, we will now examine three common principles of minimalism.
It is vital that a web designer understands the wants and needs of the user to carefully prioritize web elements using a minimalist interface. Minimalist design must only show elements of high importance and get rid of unnecessary content that distracts from the core content of the website.
One goal of minimalist design is to make the message clear to the user. Users should be able to quickly navigate the interface and efficiently complete their tasks on the website, which is why it is vital that elements are streamlined for users and information is not hidden anywhere on the website.
Negative space is extremely prominent in minimalism. Negative space is used to direct the users’ attention to the core content of the site, which adds emphasis on existing content and allows your users to digest content more easily.
Visual Features of Minimalism
Although minimalism is strategic and focuses on user experience, there are very distinct visual features of the design technique. Here are three common features of minimalist design.
In traditionalist minimalist design, web designers use a limited color palette. It is not unusual for websites to be monochromatic, but typically a maximum of three colors are used simultaneously. The goal here is to use color to strategically create visual interest without adding additional design elements, such as graphics, images, or animations.
As the majority of the information on the web is written language, dramatic typography can be extremely important. Interesting typography can be used to direct the users’ attention to a particular message or convey a feeling.
When it comes to selecting a font, minimalist designers normally limit the font selections to one or two font families.
Flat design is a minimalist technique that is becoming increasingly popular in the web design community. Flat interfaces do not use obvious highlights, shadows, gradients, or other textures to create three-dimensional elements. Instead, objects look neat in different sizes and resolutions.
Usability of Minimalism
The nature of minimalism prioritizes core content. Thus, it is a strategy that significantly influences the amount of content on a website. This has led to debate among marketers and web designers if minimalism is good for users and businesses, as other marketing strategies like Search Engine Optimization can be affected. Yet, a minimalist approach to marketing can actually be effective for the following reasons:
Well-designed minimalist websites can create positive emotional experiences for the user. Research shows that people respond better to aesthetically pleasing interfaces. Plus, people are also more understanding of usability obstacles on well-designed websites, as long as those obstacles are minor.
Similarly, minimalist websites make it easier for users to locate crucial information. Too many choices or too much information can overwhelm users and cause them to leave the website.
Search Engine Optimization
Minimalist web pages are known for limited copy, and this can pose a risk in terms of Search Engine Optimization. As SEO uses keywords to optimize digital assets to maximize organic visibility in as many places as possible, minimalist websites may result in low information density and poor findability. However, minimalism that is done right not only allows for great user accessibility, but great minimalist design can actually be SEO-friendly.
For example, minimalist sites are easy for search engines to crawl because there is limited clutter on the front and back end. These websites have faster loading times, which is another vital aspect to SEO. A less complex website with fewer applications, plug-ins, and elements is also less likely to run into technical problems, and site maintenance is easier as a result. Similarly, minimalist websites are easier to optimize for desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.
Minimalism in Moderation
Minimalism is certainly not without its problems, such as limited communication about products and services, the potential for a website to look unfinished, and the lack of room for growth. Yet, minimalist design used in moderation can actually be extremely beneficial for small businesses and their clients.
Purposeful minimalism can create a positive user experience. With the right amount of simplicity, users find a minimalist site aesthetically pleasing, easy to navigate, and meaningful. The goal is quality over quantity. These websites are easier to remember and accomplish your goals from a user standpoint.
On the merchant side, minimalism can similarly be beneficial for your business. Minimalist design is inherently SEO-friendly, because faster loading times, greater accessibility, easier optimization options, and less web complexity can be expected. By removing unnecessary content, minimalism does a great job of focusing the attention of the user to the core content of the website. Everything on your website must be intentional — users will pick up on detailed design.
Go Minimalist With Succeeding Small
Small businesses can benefit from great minimalist design. The goal is to balance good design with good user experience, and, many times, less really is more for both the user and the small business.
At Succeeding Small, we want your small business to succeed, and minimalist web design can be an important tool to give visibility to your business and attract customers. To help businesses thrive, our web design services will optimize your small business for maximum visibility. Contact us today to learn more about our services and pricing to get your small business the visibility it deserves!